Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

April 12, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo

How Adam Grant Just Made Teaching More Complicated

I’m a big fan of Professor Adam Grant’s work (see my interview with him at Education Week, Teachers As “Givers, Takers & Matchers”: An Interview With Adam Grant).

And I was very excited to see his must-read guest column in The New York Times today, Raising a Moral Child.

It’s geared towards parents, but just about everything he says is also extraordinarily useful to teachers, too.

He discusses recent studies identifying effective ways to help children become “kind, compassionate and helpful.”

Developing these kinds of qualities are being identified more and more as an important part of our work as educators (see my Ed Week series, ‘Character Is Not Compliance Out Of Fear,‘ and The Best Social Emotional Learning (SEL) Resources).

There’s so much substance in his short column that I’m not even going to try to summarize it — just read the whole thing.

I do, however, want to highlight one part of it where I think he just made our job more complicated (obviously, I’m talking tongue-in-cheek):


Many of us who are familiar with Carol Dweck’s work on praising action instead of intelligence might find a contradiction in this finding.

I know I was a bit confused.

So I sent an email to Adam asking about this apparent contradiction and he was kind enough to respond right away. Here’s what he said:

In “Mindset”, Carol Dweck describes her famous body of groundbreaking research demonstrating that when we praise children for their intelligence, they develop a fixed view of ability, which leads them to give up in the face of failure. Instead of telling them how smart they are, it’s wise to praise their effort, which encourages them to see their abilities as malleable and persist to overcome obstacles. Some parents and teachers have stretched this idea to its logical conclusion: always praise actions, not fixed qualities. In the domain of moral character, though, this might be the wrong approach. If we want children to become caring and generous, the evidence suggests that there’s value in helping them see these as stable dimensions of their identities.

That said, even in the moral domain, there may be some risks of praising character. Research on moral licensing suggests that when we see ourselves as good people, we sometimes feel greater freedom to engage in unethical behaviors. This is captured in chilling detail in Mistakes Were Made, But Not By Me by Carol Tavris and Elliot Aronson, and in The Honest Truth about Dishonesty by Dan Ariely. I’d love to see more research on how to instill a sense of moral character without leading people to say, “I’m a good person, so I can do a bad thing”—or worse yet, “I’m a good person, so this clearly isn’t a bad thing.”

So, now, based on this research, we might need to be aware of which character quality we want to teach and employ contradictory instructional strategies for some of them.

Teaching is complicated, ain’t it?

November 19, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo

Dan Pink’s New TV Series Airs Next Monday!


As I mentioned earlier this month, Dan Pink’s new television show, Crowd Control, airs next Monday on the National Geographic Channel (Monday, November 24th at 9PM ET).

Dan is best known among educators for his book, Drive, which delved into the key issue of developing intrinsic motivation. I’ve written a lot about his work.

Here’s how the National Geographic Channel describes it:

In the new series, Best-selling author and expert Daniel Pink will use behavioral science to lead a series of experiments that show how we can apply the power of persuasion in our daily lives to reduce stress, minimize annoyances, improve health and increase happiness. Using hidden cameras to record his results, Pink will tackle the seemingly impossible task of righting everyday wrongs — from convincing partygoers to clean up their streets to stopping the senseless rush at an airport baggage claim.

You can read more in-depth discussions of his new show at these two links:

Adam Grant, another one of my favorite authors, interviews Dan about the new show.

This New TV Show Experiments With Design to Deter Speeding, Jaywalking is the headline of a Slate article about it.

It really looks like a great show. You can see lots of short, advance clips on its website.

Not only am I sure that I’ll learn a lot from it, but I also plan on showing clips to my IB Theory of Knowledge class when we study human sciences. After seeing them, I plan on challenging students to use what they’ve learned in class and from the clips to create their own — appropriate, of course — human behavior experiments. I’ll share how it goes….

I was able to preview the first show, and was impressed. It’s fast moving, and Dan applies recognized behavioral science findings to real-life problems, including using cash rewards to reduce speeding; fear and game-playing to reduce jaywalking and an unusual effort to try and reduce bicycle thefts. And, if you’re wondering, his cash rewards experiment doesn’t disprove the idea that rewards discourage intrinsic motivation. In fact, it reinforces the research that extrinsic motivation can work to change mechanical habits that require little creativity or higher-order thinking. Remember, though, that extrinsic motivation doesn’t encourage — and, in fact, dampens — those higher order skills.

By the way, in my original post about the show, I mentioned that one of the episodes featured a musical staircase designed to encourage people to use it more. I commented on its similarity to a “Fun Theory” video I’ve also shared. Dan later emailed me to let me know that earlier in that particular episode he discusses that original experiment and builds on it to create a staircase that encourages people to collaborate to create music when climbing instead of the mismatched chords individuals had created on their own. A creative modification, indeed!

Fortunately, we get the National Geographic Channel, and I’m looking forward to watching the entire series!

June 13, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo

My Best Posts On New Research Studies In 2014 – So Far


I write many posts about recent research studies and how they can relate practically to the classroom. In fact, I post a regular feature called Research Studies of the Week. In addition, I write individual posts about studies I feel are particularly relevant to my work as a teacher.

I’m continuing with my mid-year “Best” lists, and it makes sense now to publish one on recent studies. You can see all my 1,300 “Best” lists here.

You might also be interested in:

My Best Posts On New Research Studies In 2013 – Part Two

My Best Posts On New Research Studies In 2013 — So Far

My Best Posts On New Research Studies In 2012 — So Far

My Best Posts On New Research Studies In 2011

Hare are My Best Posts On New Research Studies In 2014 – So Far:

The Best Posts On The Study Suggesting That Bare Classroom Walls Are Best For Learning

Another Big Surprise: Reflection Helps Learning

Another Shocker – NOT! Students Respond Better To Support Than Threats

Study: Gratitude Increases Self-Control

The Best Research On Listening To Music When Studying

How Adam Grant Just Made Teaching More Complicated

“Knowledge Motivates Preschoolers More Than Stickers, Study Says”

The Best Resources On The Dangers Of Multitasking

This Has Me Concerned: “Study Links Teacher ‘Grit’ with Effectiveness, Retention”

Another Study Demonstrates The Ineffectiveness Of Extrinsic Motivation, But Also Something More….

Quote Of The Day: Have You Ever Wondered How Many Decisions We Teachers Need To Make Each Day?

Some Very Interesting Info On Self-Control Research

New US Dept. of Ed Finds That “Less Effective Teaching” Responsible For 2-4 Percent Of Achievement Gap

Must-Read Article About A Must-Read Study: “Can Upward Mobility Cost You Your Health?”

Study: “How Stories Get Into Your Brain”

Quote Of The Day: “Fighting in Teenagers Lowers Their IQ”

The Best Posts On Study Finding That Standardized Tests Don’t Measure Cognitive Ability

Surprising Study — NOT: People Learn A Second Language Better By Physically Simulating Words

Another Study Shows That Self-Affirmation Activities Help People Think More Clearly

Study: Standardized Tests Don’t Measure “Fluid Intelligence”


April 24, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo

April’s Best Posts From This Blog


I regularly highlight my picks for the most useful posts for each month — not including “The Best…” lists. I also use some of them in a more extensive monthly newsletter I send-out. You can see older Best Posts of the Month at Websites Of The Month (more recent lists can be found here).

Here are some of the posts I personally think are the best, and most helpful, ones I’ve written during this past month (not in any order of preference):

Getty Museum Adds 77,000 Images To Public Domain

My New Radio Program: “How Can Administrators Help Support an Engaging Curriculum in the Classroom?”

Another Big Surprise: Reflection Helps Learning

Another Shocker – NOT! Students Respond Better To Support Than Threats

“Sentence Navigator” Is Jason Renshaw’s Gift To ESL/EFL/ELL Teachers Everywhere!

Differentiating Lessons By “Content, Process or Product”

British Pathé Makes 85,000 Historical Clips Available On YouTube

Ideas For Finishing The School Year Strong & Beginning The Summer Even Stronger

“Dissecting Grades: What Do They Mean, What Are They Worth?” Is My New BAM! Radio Program

Study: Gratitude Increases Self-Control

Who’s To Blame For The SAT’s Existence? Thanks A Lot, Tom Edison…

Amazing Video: “Watch as 1000 years of European borders change (timelapse map)”

Surprise, Surprise — Study Finds Shouting At Children “creates further discipline problems”

“Spacehopper” Is One Of The Best Geography Games I’ve Seen

ELL Teachers & Students Will Love MusiXmatch – It Provides Karaoke-Style Lyrics To Most YouTube Music Videos

‘Simply Putting Tech In Front Of Students Won’t Engage Them’

Grit, Failure & Stuff Like That

“One-To-One Technology ‘Is Really About Building Effective Relationships’”

How Adam Grant Just Made Teaching More Complicated

LBJ As A Teacher In Texas

“What Is This Animal Thinking or Saying (If It Could Talk)?” Is A Fun Language Development Exercise

Big News! Sacramento Withdraws From NCLB Waiver Granted CORE Districts

“Booktrack” Lets You Read Books With Soundtracks & Make Your Own

My New BAM! Podcast Is Tragically Timely: “How Can We Help Students Handle Loss and Grief?”

“Poverty-related Challenges Sap Instructional Time in High Schools”

Another Nail In VAM’s Coffin?

My New British Council Post: “Creating The Conditions For Self-Motivated Students”

My Latest NY Times Post Is On Lying As A Language-Learning Activity

“Scarlet Letter” Comes To The UK: Get Good Test Results & You Can Wear Your Own Clothes, While Bad Results Means You Wear School Uniform

Ways To Cultivate ‘Whole-Class Engagement’

Wow! The NY Times’ “Time Machine” Is One Wild “This Day In History” Site

One Of The Worst Tweets I Read This Week Came From The Gates Foundation

Here Is The Simple Outline I’m Having My TOK Students Use For Their Oral Presentation

Free Resources From All My Books

I Am Tired Of “School Reformers” Using The Civil Rights Movement Legacy To Support Their Agenda

My Latest NY Times Post For ELLs Is About Nouns, Soccer In China & More!




December 28, 2013
by Larry Ferlazzo

The Best Resources For Identifying Qualities Needed In Order To Be “Successful”

'Success' photo (c) 2007, Alosh Bennett - license:

I’m preparing a lesson to try out in class and for possible inclusion in the upcoming third volume in my student motivation “trilogy.”

It will be focusing on Social Emotional Learning skills, and will be a follow-up to exercises on goal-setting, grit, and self-control.

I also am figuring out if, and how, it might be valuable to somehow incorporate something on how developing all these life skills might still not be enough, but that’s going to be tricky — I want to “twin” that with strategies on how they can confront even those additional challenges.

Of course, part of a lesson on “success” will be encouraging students to make their own definition of what that means.

Here are the resources I’m using to help develop “success” lesson — additional suggestions are welcome:

What very successful people have in common is from The Week.

School engagement predicts success later in life is from The Conversation.

“Secret Ingredient for Success” is a short post I wrote about a NY Times article.

The Most Effective Strategies For Success is from The Harvard Business Review.

Teachers As “Givers, Takers & Matchers”: An Interview With Adam Grant is a conversation I had with professor and author Adam Grant about his research and book.

Students Need 8 Critical Conditions for Success is by John Wilson at Ed Week.

Warren Buffett: The three things I look for in a person is at Farnam Street.

The Five Paths To Being The Best At Anything is from Barking Up The Wrong Tree.

How Olympians Stay Motivated is an excellent article in The Atlantic, and here’s an excerpt that tells you about it:

We can’t all be Olympic athletes. (In fact some of us, including your humble narrator, should not be allowed anywhere near ice or blades.) But we all face times when we really don’t want to do something that we, nonetheless, really have to do. Drawing from interviews with top athletes and their coaches, along with psychological studies of athletes, here are seven ways Olympians stay motivated through the training slog.

The Good and Bad Habits of Smart People
by NowSourcing.
Explore more infographics like one on the web’s largest information design community – Visually.

Daily Routines Of The World’s Most Creative People is a pretty interesting infographic. You can see it as a slideshow at Fast Company or as a full infographic.

August 5, 2013
by Larry Ferlazzo

“The Science Of Thriving” Might Offer Some Useful Online Resources

The Science of Thriving: At Work & In Life is a free online “event” taking place from September taking place from September 16th to the 20th, and includes online talks by people like Dan Pink, Adam Grant, Carol Dweck, Paul Tough and many others.

Each interview/presentation will be available to watch for twenty-four hours from its start time.

My suspicion, and I may be wrong, is that presenters will be going over what they’ve written about and/or spoken about extensively in other arenas. So, I’m not sure how valuable it will be for many readers of this blog who are familiar with a lot of the work already. However, if you have time, a review never hurt anybody, and it will for sure be helpful to those who aren’t familiar with the presenters.

July 25, 2013
by Larry Ferlazzo

July’s Best Posts From This Blog



I regularly highlight my picks for the most useful posts for each month — not including “The Best…” lists. I also use some of them in a more extensive monthly newsletter I send-out. You can see older Best Posts of the Month at Websites Of The Month (more recent lists can be found here).

Here are some of the posts I personally think are the best, and most helpful, ones I’ve written during this past month (not in any order of preference):

If You Want To Influence People To Change, Then You Want To Read Atul Gawande’s New Article

Article On Learning & The Brain That’s Perfect For Tenth, Eleventh, & Twelfth Graders

It Looks Like Nate Silver Is Bringing His Stats Knowledge To Education

“Teachers As ‘Givers, Takers & Matchers’: An Interview With Adam Grant”

What In The World Is Rahm Emanuel Thinking?

Nine California Districts (Including Ours) Seek Waiver From NCLB — Duncan Should Turn It Down

Whew! Just Finished First Chapter Of Third Book On Student Motivation

“ColAR” Could Be The Coolest Tablet App Out There, & Here’s How I Would Use It In Class

If You’re Ever Teaching About Racial Profiling, You Definitely Want To Show This Video

The New Google Maps Is Now Open To Everybody!

Stop The Presses! Study Finds Student Prior Knowledge Is Important & Best Explored Through “Flipped Flipped Classroom” (not a typo)

Video: “Kids React to Controversial Cheerios Commercial”

New Kindle Versions Of My Student Motivation Books (& All Eye On Education Books) Available Soon

All My Ed Week Posts On Brain-Based Learning In One Place

Thoughtful Resources On Trayvon Martin Case & Verdict

Standardized Tests & Student Motivation

“Urban Observatory” Is The Coolest Map Site I’ve Seen In Awhile….

Wonderful Video: Brazilian Kids Learn English By Correcting Tweets From Celebrities

Infographic: How Much Of Their Own Funds Do Teachers Spend In The Classroom?

Important Advice For Anyone Who Wants To Be Effective At Making Change

Malcolm Gladwell’s New Story On The Importance Of Being A Good Listener

You Can Read & Download The Entire First Chapter From Our ELL Book For Free

Quote Of The Day: Hannah Arendt & The Origin Of Evil

All My Ed Week Posts On Teaching Math & Science In One Place!

Video: Charlotte Danielson — “We Better Hold Off On Making High-Stakes Decisions” Based On Student Test Scores

Excellent PowerPoint On Feedback Promoting A Growth Mindset

My Most Popular Parent Engagement Posts Over The Past Four Years

Quote Of The Day: You Won’t Hear Better Classroom Management Advice Than This….

Great Student Hand-Out On Learning & The Brain

More On The Research Showing Reading When Young Slows Alzheimer’s Later

Great Interview With My Teaching Partner, Katie Hull-Sypnieski

Create A 28 Year Timelapse Animation Of….Anywhere

That Was Quick — My New Publisher Has Made Even More Free Downloadable Figures From My Newest Book Available

A Surprising Study Only To People Who Have Never Worked In The Community: Low-Income People Care About Their Neighborhoods

“News In Levels” Looks Like An Excellent Site For ELLs

All My Ed Week Posts On Teaching Reading & Writing In One Place!

What Are They Thinking? Cleveland Paper Publishes Teachers’ VAM Ratings


June 1, 2013
by Larry Ferlazzo

“Keep Calm & Carry On”

'Streeter Seidell, Comedian' photo (c) 2005, Zach Klein - license:

This has been a challenging year for me in the classroom. My classes, as do most at our 100% free lunch school, always have a considerable number of students facing multiple difficult challenges, but this year the number and severity was noticeably larger than usual.

I’ll go into it more in-depth in a post after the school year is done in two weeks and I have a little more distance. However, I read a short article today that shared some wisdom that I hope to carry into these final two weeks and beyond.

I pride myself at being very patient, not being reactive, and being able to “get over” things quickly, but I’ve become a bit worn down by the classroom challenges of this year, and have sometimes not done a good job of not letting my sense of feeling frustrated at one student or class spill over to how I treat other students and other classes.

I’ve previously posted some ways I deal with these issues at What Do You Do When You’re Having A Bad Day At School?

Today, I read a useful short article titled Keep Calm & Carry On.

The author offered two suggestions on how to move beyond feeling frustrated that I think are helpful. Here’s one:

Mr. Loehr was describing something he had observed in the best tennis players – namely that they were meticulous about renewing themselves in the 20 to 30 seconds between points. The first thing these players did when a point ended was to turn away from the net. I loved the metaphor: Turn away from the net. Let it go.

When I’m feeling frustrated, I try to become more conscious of my breathing and slow down, but it’s sometimes hard to remember. I think this metaphor of “turning away from the net” could an effective reminder.

Here’s his other idea related to Adam Grant (see my previous posts about his work here). Grant’s research suggests a simple, and not new, idea:

…that people who give without expecting anything in return actually turn out not only to feel better for having done so, but also to be more successful. Giving, Mr. Grant explains, does not require extraordinary acts of sacrifice. It simply involves a focus on acting in the interests of others.

The author of the article, Tony Schwartz, describes feeling frustrated in an airport and applying Grant’s research by asking people how they were doing, hearing one person respond “I need a cup of coffee,” and then just going to get one for her.

I’m wondering if I could get into that kind of pattern — anytime I have a frustrating experience with a student or class, get into the habit of intentionally doing something “nice” (and out of the ordinary kind of “nice”) for another student or another class? It could be simple — for example, if I see that a student is not feeling well and has been getting up and getting facial tissue from the box in front, I could just bring the box to him/her once and ask if they needed one. Just a thought….

What are your strategies for “keeping calm and carrying on”?

May 5, 2013
by Larry Ferlazzo

Second Quote Of The Day: The Importance Of Teams

Adam Grant published a piece today titled What’s the Common Ingredient for Success Across Teams of Surgeons, Bank Analysts, Software Developers, Airline Pilots, and Basketball Players?

He highlights research in many occupations that has found that the “team” a person is on is the key element for success, and cites a number of instances where people have not been able to replicate their individual success when they leave their team.

Though he doesn’t talk about education, the research does seem to raise questions about various programs that try to attract teachers who are “successful” in one school to “high-needs” schools.

Here’s an excerpt:

March 30, 2013
by Larry Ferlazzo
1 Comment

“Givers, Takers & Matchers” In The Classroom

Researcher/Professor Adam Grant talks about his new book, Give and Take, in The New York Times this weekend. The article is titled Is Giving The Secret To Getting Ahead?

Here’s an excerpt:

Organizational psychology has long concerned itself with how to design work so that people will enjoy it and want to keep doing it. Traditionally the thinking has been that employers should appeal to workers’ more obvious forms of self-interest: financial incentives, yes, but also work that is inherently interesting or offers the possibility for career advancement. Grant’s research, which has generated broad interest in the study of relationships at work and will be published for the first time for a popular audience in his new book, “Give and Take,” starts with a premise that turns the thinking behind those theories on its head. The greatest untapped source of motivation, he argues, is a sense of service to others; focusing on the contribution of our work to other peoples’ lives has the potential to make us more productive than thinking about helping ourselves.

It’s a lengthy, but very useful article. A short, excellent video accompanies it, which I have embedded below:

He talks about how people tend to be “givers, takers or matchers” and that takers tend to only have short-term success.

It has the makings of a great lesson for the classroom, and I’ll share what I end up doing with it.

November 10, 2010
by Larry Ferlazzo

The Best Resources For Learning How To Best Give Feedback To Students

'Metropolis Reflections on the modern city - sign - Acknowledgements' photo (c) 2013, Elliott Brown - license:

I’ve been thinking and writing (in my forthcoming book to be published by Eye On Education) about the most effective ways to give feedback to students. I’ve obviously been trying to apply what I’ve been learning in the classroom, too.

As a one sentence summary, as I’ve posted about previously, the research says it’s best to praise effort and not intelligence.

Here are some resources I’ve found helpful:

What Kind Of Feedback Should We Give Our Students? is a post I have previously written.

The Difference Between Praise & Acknowledgment is another older post.

The Perils and Promises of Praise is an article by Carol Dweck.

Pondering Praise is a nice essay by Joe Bower.

It’s Not About How Smart You Are is an article by Carol Dweck.

Goodbye to “Good Job!”—The Power of Specific Feedback is a useful post by Margaret Berry Wilson at ASCD Express.

“The Praise Paradox” is an excerpt from the book Nurture Shock: New Thinking About Children, written by by Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman. It appeared in the March issue of “NEA Today.”

New Marzano Study On “Effort & Recognition”

The words that could unlock your child comes from the BBC.

Carol Dweck’s website for her book, Mindset, contains a number of useful articles on her research, particularly on giving effective feedback.

Dr. Heidi Grant Halvorson has written a short article for Carol Dweck’s website. It provides a simple review of the basics on the kind of feedback we should be giving our students, and generally there’s nothing new in it. However, it did make one important point I have not see made anyplace else:

Avoid praising effort when it didn’t pay off. Many parents try to console their child by saying things like “Well honey, you didn’t do very well, but you worked hard and really tried your best.” Why does anyone think that this is comforting? For the record – it’s not. (Unless, of course, it was a no-win situation from the start).

Studies show that, after a failure, being complimented for “effort” not only makes kids feel stupid, it also leaves them feeling like they can’t improve. In these instances, it’s really best to stick to purely informational feedback – if effort isn’t the problem, help them figure out what is.

Unfortunately, she doesn’t provide references to those studies.

“Praise for effort keeps people engaged and willing to work hard”

Use Acknowledgments More Than Praise is by Marvin Marshall.

How to Tell Whether You’re Using Praise or Acknowledgments is also by Marvin Marshall.

An article entitled Choice Words by Doug Fisher and Nancy Frey has been published by the National Association of Secondary School Principals, and it’s an exceptional commentary with practical suggestions on giving effective feedback. I especially like the framework they use — dividing helpful feedback into ones that emphasize student accomplishments, identity and agency.

How To Give Good Feedback is by Annie Murphy Paul.

This next piece is an excellent interview with Carol Dweck. I learn from all of her work, but I found this one particularly interesting because she shared some thoughts I hadn’t heard her say before.

Giving Feedback is by Elena Aguilar and is focuses on instructional coaches giving feedback to educators. However, most of the advice can be easily applied to students, as well.

Quote Of The Day: Giving Feedback

Grant Wiggins and Mark Barnes did a workshop Feedback, and you can see the Storify “notes” and the slideshow here.

Tips for Improving Feedback at the Middle Level is by Debbie Silver.

The Pajarao Valley Unified School District has an excellent collection of resources on Professor Carol Dweck’s work, and it’s been on The Best Resources On Helping Our Students Develop A “Growth Mindset” list for quite awhile.

However, they created another related resource that, for some reason, I discovered is not on that list. It’s an exceptional PowerPoint presentation on how to provide feedback to students that promotes a growth mindset. And, in an added bonus, a portion of it speaks directly to parents.

The Best Learning Motivator EVER! is by Eric Jensen.

The Difference Between Praise and Feedback is from MindShift.

Tips for Giving Feedback is from Elena Aguilar.

How to Turn Praise into Acknowledgment is by Marvin Marshall.

How Adam Grant Just Made Teaching More Complicated

New Ideas on Feedback from IATEFL 2014 is an interesting post.

Pupils benefit from praise, but should teachers give it to them publicly or privately? is from Research Digest.

Additional suggestions are welcome.

If you found this post useful, you might want to consider subscribing to this blog for free.

You might also want to explore the 475 other “The Best…” lists I’ve compiled.

March 10, 2010
by Larry Ferlazzo

How Do You Think Working Hard & Learning Everything You Can In This Class Might Help You Now & In The Future?

Noah Goldstein at the Inside Influence Report just wrote about a study that is prompting me to try some things out in my class — tomorrow and next week.

He writes about…

“Adam Grant, a scholar in the field of organizational behavior, realized that workers often fail to live up to their potential because they’ve lost track of the significance and meaningfulness of their own jobs. He figured that if he could remind employees of why their jobs are important, they might become more highly motivated, and therefore, more productive individuals.

Grant did an experiment where workers read testimonials from people who benefited from their work. Those workers had a huge jump in their productivity compared to control groups.

Goldstein continues:

there’s significance and meaningfulness inherent to every job in existence—it’s just that employees often lose sight of what that is. The persuasive leader is someone who can help employees regain their sight by reminding them of how meaningful their jobs can be to others and to themselves.

So, how might this relate to the classroom?

First, here is what I’m doing tomorrow:

After students in my ninth-grade mainstream English class (by the way, just to help get a better understanding of this often challenging class,I should clarify that it’s a two hour one for incoming students deemed to need additional support) finish their fifteen minutes of silent reading at the beginning of class, I will ask them to respond to this question on the board:

How do you think working hard and learning everything you can in this class might help you now and in the future? Please list as many possible benefits as you can. If you don’t think it will benefit you, please explain why not.

I’ll then have students share with partners and then with the class.

Next, I’m going to ask colleagues who teach tenth, eleventh, and twelfth grade English to ask their students to write about how they felt what they learned in ninth-grade English has helped them so far in their lives, and how they feel it might help them in the future. Next week, I’ll share some of those responses with my ninth-graders and ask them to share what they’ve learned and possibly explore the similarities and differences between their answers and the older students’ answers.

I think both exercises will be interesting, and might offer a comparable exercise to Grant’s experiment (even though I won’t be using a control group or measuring it’s effectiveness in any way). But I figure any kind of reflective activity surely can’t hurt….

Feedback is welcome….