Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

January 16, 2015
by Larry Ferlazzo

The Best Resources About Inductive Learning & Teaching

In the inductive process, students seek patterns and use them to identify their broader meanings and significance. In the deductive process, meanings or rules are given, and students have to then apply them.

I’m a huge fan of using inductive learning, and plenty of research (which you’ll find in the resources on this list) document its effectiveness.

I’ve written many posts about it, and thought it would be useful to bring together a few of my best ones, along with resources developed by others, that explain the inductive process and how to apply it in mainstream and English Language Learner classrooms (feel free to make suggestions of ones I’ve missed):

The Best Ways To Modify The Picture Word Inductive Model For ELLs

The British Council has shared a short post that Paul Kaye wrote six years ago that does a great job explaining the difference between inductive and deductive, and he provides a number of practical examples from the language-learning classroom. Check out his article, Presenting New Language.

Here are two British Council posts where I wrote about it:

What Does Enhanced Discovery Learning Look Like In The ELL Classroom?

The picture word inductive model

I’ve written several posts at The New York Times explaining the concept:

Ideas for English Language Learners | Labeling Photos, Sequencing Passages and More

Learn About President Kennedy Using the Inductive Model

Learning About New Year’s Inductively

Get Organized Around Assets is an article I wrote for ASCD Educational Leadership. It includes a section on teaching inductively.

The Best Ways To Modify The Picture Word Inductive Model For ELLs

More Info On Why Inductive Learning Is So Effective

”How Google is teaching computers to see” — Inductively

More Research Showing Why Inductive Learning Works

The Picture Word Inductive Model In Science & Social Studies

How to Teach an Inductive Learning Lesson is by Jennifer Gonzalez.

Learning Inductively Works…

Web 2.0 Tools For Beginning English Language Learners – “Padlet”

Picture Word Inductive Model with High school Newcomers by Wendi Pillars is an exceptional step-by-step description of how to use one of my favorite ELL teaching strategies.

“Thinking Like A Scientist Can Help Overcome Allure Of Appearances”

Study Says Ability To Identify Patterns Key To Second Language Learning

“Szoter” Will Become A Key Tool For ELL Students & Teachers

“Thinglink” Could Be A Great Tool For ELL’s

What Can Teachers Learn From Target?

“We Should Celebrate Mistakes”

This Is The Best Lesson Plan On Punctuation I’ve Ever Read

Is This The Most Important Research Study Of The Year? Maybe

How to Help Our Learners Discover English is from Gallery Languages.

Inductive and deductive grammar teaching: what is it, and does it work? is from the English Language Teaching Global Blog.

Here Are Some Examples Of Using “Concept Attainment” In Writing Instruction

September 22, 2012
by Larry Ferlazzo

More Info On Why Inductive Learning Is So Effective

I have written tons in my books and in this blog about the effectiveness of inductive learning.

It’s the idea of pushing students, and ourselves, to see patterns and concepts in a list of examples, as opposed to telling students the concepts and then giving the examples that fit in them.

TIME Magazine has just published Q&A with Consciousness Researcher Daniel Bor, and he talks about why our minds learn so much from this kind of pattern-seeking. Here’s an excerpt:

So what do you think the purpose of consciousness is?

I think the purpose of it is to draw all the relevant information together in a larger space. It’s almost as if we can’t spot it because we are doing it all the time. Why do we love crossword puzzles and why are people addicted to sudoku? That’s what a huge bit of the cortex is primed to do — to spot [patterns] — and once we spot them we can assimilate them into our pyramid of knowledge and build more layers of strategy, and knowing how to do that makes us incredibly successful at controlling the world.

And that’s why solving puzzles or finding a useful bit of information feels so good?

We get streams of pleasure when we find something that can really help us understand some deep pattern. Sudoku isn’t the most [fun activity], but it sure feels good when you put in that last number. It’s why scientists love doing research. The way I approach my job, it’s like trying to solve a really big fuzzy crossword puzzle and when you do put in that new clue and see the deeper pattern, that’s incredibly pleasurable.

If our brains are hungry for information, then why do we tend to see learning as a chore and fail to recognize it as a huge source of pleasure?

I don’t know. Obviously, more intelligent people get more pleasure from spotting these patterns, but I think almost every normal person does this. I think it’s a pretty pervasive thing but it’s almost as if we can’t notice it because it’s so pervasive.

October 24, 2011
by Larry Ferlazzo

More Research Showing Why Inductive Learning Works

The Mind Hacks blog revisits an older study that restates why inductive learning, student autonomy, and choice works in the classroom.

The blog also has a useful chart. It’s worth checking-out but, in summary, it discusses findings that students will remember things far better if they bring their own meaning to in a way they choose:

What this research suggests is that, merely in terms of remembering, it would be more effective for students to come up with their own organisation for course material…..You’ll remember better (and understand much better) if you try and re-organise the material you’ve been given in your own way.

If you are a teacher, like me, then this research raises some distrurbing questions. At a University the main form of teaching we do is the lecture, which puts the student in a passive role and, essentially, asks them to “remember this” – an instruction we know to be ineffective. Instead, we should be thinking hard, always, about how to create teaching experiences in which students are more active, and about creating courses in which students are permitted and encouraged to come up with their own organisation of material, rather than just forced to regurgitate ours.

It’s nothing particularly new, but any research that backs up that kind of perspective certainly can’t hurt….

May 11, 2015
by Larry Ferlazzo

Here Are Some Examples Of Using “Concept Attainment” In Writing Instruction

I’ve written and shared on this blog and in my books about the inductive learning method called concept attainment. Basically, teachers placed examples, typically (though not always) from unnamed student work, under the categories of “Yes” and “No.” The class then constructs their own understanding of why the examples are in their categories. It’s a great tool for many lessons, and I like it especially for grammar and other writing. You can read more about it at The Best Resources About Inductive Learning & Teaching.

My exceptional colleague Lara Hoekstra has developed concept attainment charts she looks to model quick-writes for an immigration unit we teach. I’ve written before how we use ABC (Answer the question; Back it up with evidence; Make a comment or connection) and PQC (Make a Point, use a quotation, and make a comment or connection) that we use as a simple paragraph frame for students. These charts reinforce those frames.

Here’s Lara’s chart. There are three of them. Here are the questions each of them are answering:

1. How do you feel about creating a fence? Will it work? Is it worth the money? Can we fence off ALL of America?

2. What do you think is the most interesting or important point made in the passage. Why? Explain your point, use text to support your point.

3. Some feel immigrants are willing to work harder than Americans. Why is that? Do you agree?

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

Let me know if you have similar writing models that you’d like to share….

April 26, 2015
by Larry Ferlazzo

Around The Web In ESL/EFL/ELL

Two years ago I began this regular feature where I share a few posts and resources from around the Web related to ESL/EFL or to language in general that have caught my attention:

4 Characteristics of Effective Teachers of ELs is by Judie Haynes.

Inductive and deductive grammar teaching: what is it, and does it work? is from the English Language Teaching Global Blog. I’m adding it to The Best Resources About Inductive Learning & Teaching.

Using video content effectively in your EFL classroom is from the English Language Teaching Global Blog. I’m adding it to The Best Popular Movies/TV Shows For ESL/EFL (& How To Use Them).

The Obama Administration’s New Strategic Action Plan on Immigrant Integration is from Ed Central.

The English Game is a very British-oriented video interactive site for learning English. It’s impressive.

I’ve shared a number of games Jimmy Fallon has played on his show and how they could be applicable to the ELL classroom. Now, here’s one from a different show, The Late Late Show with James Corden, who models how “Guess Who?” could also be used as a language development activity. I’m adding this to The Best Ideas For Using Games In The ESL/EFL/ELL Classroom.

March 5, 2015
by Larry Ferlazzo

Yet Another Study Finds Constructivism Tends To Work Better Than Direct Instruction

Yes, yes, direct instruction has its place in the classroom. Though, as I’ve discussed many times (The Best Posts Questioning If Direct Instruction Is “Clearly Superior”; The Best Resources About Inductive Learning & TeachingThe Best Research Demonstrating That Lectures Are Not The Best Instructional Strategy ), it must be kept in a limited “place.”

Yet another study has reinforced this finding, and it’s taken an usual perspective. The researchers/writers of Improvements from a Flipped Classroom May Simply Be the Fruits of Active Learning compared classes that were using “active learning” via a “flipped classroom” with classes that were using active learning techniques in a school classroom and found that both were equally as effective.

They concluded it was the constructivist methodology that was the key to effective learning, not the tech.

Here’s an excerpt:


Thanks to The Journal for the tip. I’m adding this post to some of the previously-mentioned lists, as well as to The Best Posts On The “Flipped Classroom” Idea.

February 18, 2015
by Larry Ferlazzo

Trello Is Another Online Corkboard/Bulletin Board


Trello is another free tool that teachers and students can use to create online corkboards/bulletin boards (like Padlet and other sites on The Best Online Virtual “Corkboards” (or “Bulletin Boards”) list).

TechCrunch calls Trello “collaborative task-management software,” so it has a lot of other bells and whistles, but it can also be used very simply for students to copy, paste and categorize images they grab off the web. That’s how I use Padlet — students can create picture data sets as part of inductive learning (see The Best Resources About Inductive Learning & Teaching).

It’s a little clunkier to add images to Trello than to other tools, though not that much so. It’s just an extra click (it’s created as an attachment to each “card” and then it is displayed).

With School District content filters, you can never have too many options to choose from since who knows what site will be blocked?

You can read more about Trello at the TechCrunch post.

January 29, 2015
by Larry Ferlazzo

January’s “The Best” Lists — There Are Now 1,404 Of Them!