Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

March 22, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Adam Grant On Failure & How I’m Using What He Says In Class

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Adam Grant has written an excellent short piece on Medium titled To Overcome the Fear of Failure, Fear This Instead.

I’m going to have students read it (after first making sure the understand what the word “entrepreneur” means) and then have them respond to this writing prompt:

What does Adam Grant say about failure? Do you agree with him? To support your opinion, be sure to include specific examples drawn from your own experience, your observations of others, or any of your readings.

I’m adding this post to:

The Best Posts, Articles & Videos About Learning From Mistakes & Failures

The Best Posts On Writing Instruction (I collect all my writing prompts there)

March 19, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Another Good Idea via Adam Grant: Seniors Writing Letters To Freshmen

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Earlier this week I wrote about the latest great idea I learned from Adam Grant (see Great Idea From Adam Grant: Student Mini-Talks That Challenge “Conventional Wisdom”).

I just learned another today from his email newsletter:

Last fall, a Wharton student named Lauren McCann came to me with a wonderful idea: what if seniors wrote letters to freshmen about what they wish they had known earlier in college? She took the initiative to make it happen—the website had over 10,000 hits in the first 24 hours alone, and other schools are now adopting it. Join me in congratulating her, and feel free to check out the letters here.

He’s talking about college seniors and freshmen, but the idea could easily be applied to high school.

I have students at the end of the school year write letters to students who are taking my classes next year, and I’ve had my Theory of Knowledge students write about how they’ve handled self-control issues so that other students could read them.  However, with the proper scaffolds, something like what they’re doing at Adam’s school could be used to great effect in a school like ours.

I’ll certainly be talking to our teachers about it.

Have any readers done this at your schools?

I’m adding this post to The Best Posts On Writing Instruction.

March 15, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Great Idea From Adam Grant: Student Mini-Talks That Challenge “Conventional Wisdom”

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Adam Grant is one of my favorite writers and thinkers (see my Ed Week interview with him, Teachers As “Givers, Takers & Matchers”: An Interview With Adam Grant).

He has a new book out now on creativity, and you can read two interviews with him about it:

Educating an Original Thinker appeared at the Atlantic.

How Adults Can Encourage Kids To Be Original Thinkers is at NPR.

I was particularly struck by some ideas he shared for teachers in the NPR interview, including this lesson he does in his university class:

I assigned them to work on their own mini TED Talk in pairs. Every student had a partner. They were supposed to film a video of five minutes or less on an idea that they believed in that went against the grain or challenged conventional wisdom.

They can pick any topic in the course, but they had to champion a message that was counter-intuitive, and you know, bring some evidence and experience to bear on it. And I was blown away by how interesting and novel their ideas were.

I do some assignments already in my IB Theory of Knowledge classes that I think promote creativity, like having them do a “What If?” History Project (see The Best Resources For Teaching “What If?” History Lessons) and asking students to write and talk about a time when they challenged a widely accepted assumption or rule.

I think Adam’s idea would be another great one to add, and I think I’ll try it as a year-end assignment.  I’ll let readers know how it goes, including sharing some of the videos.

I’m adding this post to The Best Sources Of Advice On Helping Students Strengthen & Develop Their Creativity.

April 12, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
2 Comments

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):

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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?

December 11, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo
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SEL Weekly Update

I’ve recently begun this weekly post where I’ll be sharing resources I’m adding to The Best Social Emotional Learning (SEL) Resources or other related “Best” lists:

Beyond Grit: The Science of Creativity, Purpose, and Motivation is a transcript of a conversation between Adam Grant and Angela Duckworth. It’s pretty interesting, and Duckworth makes this comment:

I stand with the critics when they say, “Grit is absolutely not enough. Let’s not lay more blame at the feet of victims who don’t have any say in their circumstances.”

I think that’s heartening to hear, though I wonder how she defines “who don’t have any say” – based on the context of her comment, I think she primarily means children. I would hope she would broaden it to “who don’t have much say” to include adults, too (see The Best Resources Showing Social Emotional Learning Isn’t Enough).

I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Learning About “Grit.”

Here’s another interesting conversation transcript: Angela Duckworth and Pete Carroll Discuss Grit and the Science of Hope. I’m adding this to The Best Posts & Videos On “Hope” — Help Me Find More.

How to Integrate Growth Mindset Messages Into Every Part of Math Class is from MindShift. I’m adding it to The Best Resources On Helping Our Students Develop A “Growth Mindset.”

3 Proven Rituals That Will Make You Motivated is from Barking Up The Wrong Tree. I’m adding it to Best Posts On “Motivating” Students.

Why Restorative Practices Benefit All Students is from Edutopia. I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Learning About Restorative Practices – Help Me Find More.

What happens in your brain when you experience gratitude? is from Scientific American. I’m adding it to The Best Resources On “Gratitude”

The Chinese Word for Anger Shows the Best Way to Get Mad is from New York Magazine. It’s connected to what community organizers call “cold anger.” In addition to applying it while I was an organizer, I’ve also used it in the classroom to help direct student anger. I’m adding it to Best Posts On Classroom Management.

How are districts measuring progress on SEL? is from Education Dive.

I’m adding this video to The Best Resources On Helping To Build Empathy In The Classroom – Help Me Find More:

November 19, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Three Links About The World’s Different Cultures

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Here are new additions to The Best Sites For Learning About The World’s Different Cultures:

In Pictures: These Children In War Zones Are Still Attending School is from BuzzFeed News.

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