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Hobbies: Hula and Tahitian Dance
Personal Hero: My parents who moved as adults to a new country, culture, and language in order to provide their family opportunities they never had growing up.
Favorite Food: Croissants in Paris, focaccia in Riomaggiore, salad in Corfu.

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Elaine Mo

Female smiling in front of bush

Having attended bilingual programs in public schools in Chinatown on the heels of the Lau vs. Nichols court case, I noticed at a very young age the differences that language could make.  There seemed to be a (what I now call socioeconomic) distinction between my friends and I and those students who were recent immigrants to our classroom.  Although I didn't understand this distinction, I felt a discernable advantage over these limited-English students when participating in the classroom.  I recall noting that their hesitance in classroom discussions would only delay their language learning yet recognized that my own hesitance to speak up during the Chinese portion of our class was not so easily overcome even while recognizing that knowledge.  Yet when my family and I participated in the world outside Chinatown I felt that we were the ones who were treated as disadvantaged, similar to how I saw the immigrant students in my classroom.  At some point, I realized how powerful language can be not merely as a means for communication, but also as a means to knowledge potentially broadening opportunities as well as a reflection and foundation of one's culture.

These and other experiences have led me to my career in education.  I focus on language and literacy development, particularly that of English Learners, because I recognize how powerful language is, and how important it is to success in school and life.  The combination of having taught in elementary schools as well as having conducted educational research has led me to focus on the research-practice connection in my courses as critical, merging an intimate and raw understanding of the potency of a model and theory of action that centralizes such connections with daily instructional practice.  I will continue to focus on "use-inspired" research (following the SERP [Strategic Education Research Partnership] model) that not only brings new knowledge to the field, but also strives for substantive change to classroom instruction in service of improving student learning in our schools.



Harvard Graduate School of Education
Language and Literacy, November 2010



Harvard Graduate School of Education
Human Development and Psychology, June 2003
Boston College Lynch School of Education
Applied Developmental and Educational Psychology,  June 2002


Los Angeles Unified School District  
Clear California Credential with CLAD, November, 1997 L.A.U.S.D. Intern Program           


University of California, Los Angeles
World Literature & Psychology, December, 1994                           


  •     English Learners
  •     Literacy Development
  •     Vocabulary Development
  •     Multicultural Education
  •     Critical Literacies
  •     Teacher Development