Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

Research Studies Of The Week


I often write about research studies from various field and how they can be applied to the classroom. I write individual posts about ones that I think are especially significant, and will continue to do so. However, so many studies are published that it’s hard to keep up. So I’ve started writing a “round-up” of some of them each week or every other week as a regular feature:

The Downside of Planning is by Art Markman. It provides evidence for what most of us probably know already — that we have a much better chance of succeeding in goals if we focus on fewer of them at a time. I’m adding it to The Best Posts On Students Setting Goals.

Another goal-related study found that:

“When people have set for themselves targets about how much they should engage in a behavior (say, if the behavior is how much to exercise per week), asking them to predict whether they will exercise in the next week makes them think about what they think they should do,” write authors Pierre Chandon (INSEAD), Ronn J. Smith (University of Arkansas), Vicki G. Morwitz (New York University), Eric R. Spangenberg, and David E. Sprott (both Washington State University). “This reduces the chances that they will simply repeat their past behavior and hence breaks their habits.”

This research re-emphasizes, I think, the importance of having students regularly review goals and plan what they are going to do the following week, which is what we do in our classroom.

Sticking to our goals: What’s the best approach for success? reports on another study that showed evidence for another thing most of us know — setting short-term goals (in other words, small “wins”) that lead towards bigger long-term goals increases one’s chance of success.

Author: Larry Ferlazzo

I'm a high school teacher in Sacramento, CA.


  1. Many people find the “quantified self” methodologies of data collection and visualization tools to be helpful in modifying their own behaviors. We should show students how to use these tools to set and track progress toward academic goals.

  2. Larry, I am a student at the University of South Alabama and I am enrolled in EDM 310. In this class we the students are assigned a new teacher each week in which we are to comment on their blogs. I chose this particular post of yours because it really inspired me to think of new ways to encourage my future students to achieve their goals. I feel it is part of a teacher’s responsibility to instill the proper techniques of achieving goals in the lives of their students. As you stated in your blog, I think teachers should have their students decide on their short or long term goals and create a plan to work toward those goals.By teaching students at a young age how to manage their lives in order to meet their potential goals, we as teachers can instill better structure and guidance in our students. I love how you ended your post about setting short term goals in order to achieve long term goals lead to a higher chance of success! Well said!

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