Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

June 24, 2013
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

Two Ongoing Discussions On This Blog: Sugata Mitra & Ruby Payne

Readers might be interested in revisiting two of my previous posts that have ongoing lively discussions in their comment sections:

A Response To Questions About Sugata Mitra is a guest post written by Rory Gallagher, which was written after I raised questions about Mitra’s approach to education. Professor Mitra is participating in that discussion in the comments section.

There are now 67 — yup, count ‘em, 67 — comments at my post, The Best Critiques Of Ruby Payne.

Join in either or both!

January 24, 2012
by Larry Ferlazzo
148 Comments

The Best Critiques Of Ruby Payne

Ruby Payne is a popular consultant to school districts around the United States and, perhaps, the world. I have major concerns about her “deficit” view of low-income students and their families — it smacks of a “blaming the victim” mentality.

I’ve written extensively about the concept of “blame,” and you might be interested in The Best Resources For Helping Students (& The Rest Of Us) Learn The Concept Of Not Blaming Others.

I thought it might also be important, though, to create a “The Best…” list specifically related to Ms. Payne. Her popularity is a fact (you can read this fawning New York Times Magazine article about her to confirm that statement).

There have been some good critiques written about her, though there have also been ones that are not particularly accessible and written in “academic-ese” and others which I think have been overly ideological. Here’s a comment I left on Scott McLeod’s blog a few years ago during a conversation about Payne:

I agree that the most effective long-term strategy for dealing with many of the problems facing low-income communities (and the children who live in them) is to organize for better housing, employment, health, etc.). I would also add that schools and their staff should work as partners with parents and other local neighborhood institutions to push for those changes.

At the same time, though, I don’t necessarily believe that this kind of strategy is the only avenue to pursue, just as I don’t believe that most teachers are attracted to Ruby Payne’s deficit model because it’s “comfortable.”

I believe that there is much that can be done day-and-day-out in the classroom by teachers. And that many of these teachers are desperate to learn any kind of instructional strategies and classroom management tactics that they can apply effectively to respond to the many challenging situations that can be found in inner-city schools.

Saul Alinsky, the father of modern-day community organizing and the founder of the organization that I worked for during my organizing career, once said, “The price of criticism is a constructive alternative.”

I believe that those of us who are critics of Ruby Payne need to do a far better job of offering constructive alternatives that teachers can use today and tomorrow — right in their classroom — if we want more to see the fallacies of Payne’s approach.

One of the things I try to do in this blog and in my books is to offer practical strategies for teachers to use instead of getting sucked into “blaming the victim.”

But there have been some good accessible critiques written, and I thought I’d share a few of what I think are the best ones:

The Myth of the Culture of Poverty by Paul Gorski at Educational Leadership.

A Framework for Understanding Ruby Payne by Anita Bohn at Rethinking Schools.

Savage Unrealities by Paul Gorski at Rethinking Schools.

Revisiting Ruby Payne by Anita Bohn at Rethinking Schools.

Poverty and Payne: Supporting Teachers to Work with Children of Poverty is by Mistilina Sato and Timothy J. Lensmir.

Shifting from Deficit to Generative Practices: Addressing Impoverished and All Students is by Paul Thomas. And thanks to Paul for helping me find some of the articles on this list.

The Corrosive Power of Stereotypes in Politics and Education is also by Paul Thomas.

Return of the Deficit is by Curt Dudley-Marling.

More resources can be found at Debunking Ruby Payne’s Framework of Poverty.

Feedback and/or Additional suggestions are always 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 over 800 other “The Best…” lists I’ve compiled.

May 22, 2009
by Larry Ferlazzo
72 Comments

Another Good Critique Of Ruby Payne

Readers of this blog know that I”m definitely not a fan of Ruby Payne, the high-priced consultant and speaker to school districts who has a decidely “deficit” view of low-income families.

I’ve recently discovered another good critique of her perspective. It’s called Miseducating Teachers about the Poor: A Critical Analysis of Ruby Payne’s Claims about Poverty.

It’s worth a visit.

December 28, 2008
by Larry Ferlazzo
3 Comments

Ruby Payne Discussion

Alice Mercer alerted me to a lively discussion going on about educational consultant Ruby Payne over at the Dangerously Irrelevant blog.

Regular readers of this blog know that I’m pretty critical of Ms. Payne’s “deficit” approach to low-income students.

You might find it interesting to visit the conversation going on at Scott McLeod’s blog. For what it’s worth, here’s the comment I left there:

I’m coming to this conversation late (it IS Christmas break, after all!), but as a longtime critic of Ruby Payne (and an admirer of Paul Gorski for being an even earlier and far more insightful critic than me) it’s certainly an engaging one.

I’m also coming to it after a nineteen year community organizing career that has preceded my newer career (five years and counting) as a teacher in Sacramento’s largest inner-city high school.

I agree that the most effective long-term strategy for dealing with many of the problems facing low-income communities (and the children who live in them) is to organize for better housing, employment, health, etc.). I would also add that schools and their staff should work as partners with parents and other local neighborhood institutions to push for those changes.

At the same time, though, I don’t necessarily believe that this kind of strategy is the only avenue to pursue, just as I don’t believe that most teachers are attracted to Ruby Payne’s deficit model because it’s “comfortable.”

I believe that there is much that can be done day-and-day-out in the classroom by teachers. And that many of these teachers are desperate to learn any kind of instructional strategies and classroom management tactics that they can apply effectively to respond to the many challenging situations that can be found in inner-city schools.

Saul Alinsky, the father of modern-day community organizing and the founder of the organization that I worked for during my organizing career, once said, “The price of criticism is a constructive alternative.”

I believe that those of us who are critics of Ruby Payne need to do a far better job of offering constructive alternatives that teachers can use today and tomorrow — right in their classroom — if we want more to see the fallacies of Payne’s approach.

Larry Ferlazzo

June 13, 2007
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

Ruby Payne

I just learned through Charles Olson’s blog about a recent laudatory New York Times Magazine article about Ruby Payne, a writer and workshop leader on education issues.  Charles has a very different take on it than I do, but I would like to thank him for pointing out the article.

I have serious concerns about Ruby Payne’s perspective on the challenges facing low-income families, one that I would characterize as “blaming the victim.”I believe that many School Districts, teachers, and, most importantly, students, are ill-served by the advice she offers.

This, I think, is a particular concern to readers of this blog since so many English Language Learners come from low-income communities.

I would encourage people to read an excellent critique of Ruby Payne’s work that recently appeared in Rethinking Schools and was written by Paul Gorski.

I, however, don’t believe I have a monopoly on the truth, so would be very interested in hearing other perspectives about her work.

June 17, 2013
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

The Best Videos For Educators In 2013 – So Far

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Here’s the latest in my mid-year“The Best…” posts….

You might also be interested in:

The Best Videos For Educators In 2012 — Part Two

The Best Videos For Educators In 2012 — Part One

The Best Videos For Educators In 2011

Part Two Of The Best Videos For Educators — 2010

The Ten Best Videos For Educators — 2010

And you might also want to see The Best Funny Videos Showing The Importance Of Being Bilingual — Part OneThe Best Videos Illustrating Qualities Of A Successful Language Learner and The Best Fun Videos About Books & Reading.

You might also want to check out The Best Video Collections For Educators.

Here are my choices for The Best Videos For Educators In 2013 – So Far:

Jason Flom shared this great video on the importance of making mistakes. I’m adding it to The Best Posts, Articles & Videos About Learning From Mistakes & Failures.

This demonstrates both the disadvantages of extrinsic motivation and the importance of helping our students develop creativity. I’m adding it to The Best Posts & Articles On “Motivating” Students and to The Best Sources Of Advice On Helping Students Strengthen & Develop Their Creativity:

Here’s a cute video that would be a fun introduction to the lesson on self-control in my book, Helping Students Motivate Themselves (and it could be used with any of the other ideas I share in The Best Posts About Helping Students Develop Their Capacity For Self-Control).

A willingness to take risks is an important quality of a language learner, which is why I’m adding this video to The Best Videos Illustrating Qualities Of A Successful Language Learner:

Story, Imagery, & the Art of 21st Century Presentation is a very good video of Garr Reynolds on presentation skills. I’m adding it to The Best Digital (& Non-Digital) Storytelling Resources.

Here’s a great video animation created by Scott McLeod where he imagines a conversation between a policy maker and an educator about “teacher accountability.”

I’m adding it to A Collection Of The Best “Laugh While You Cry” Videos.

Dan Pink has posted a nice and short video demonstrating the importance of asking good questions.

I’m adding it to….The Best Videos Showing The Importance Of Asking Good Questions.

You may have heard about the late David Foster Wallace’s amazing commencement address from several years ago at Kenyon College. A video, using his audio, was unveiled on the Web, and has since been seen millions of times. Here’s the video (you can read the transcript here). Here are previous posts where I’ve also highlighted particularly notable commencement addresses:

This TED Talk video from Rita Pierson on “Every Kid Needs A Champion” is a great one. I had never heard of Rita Pierson before, but she makes great points. I wonder how and why she got connected to Ruby Payne? (see The Best Critiques Of Ruby Payne).

I’m adding the video to The Best Resources On The Importance Of Building Positive Relationships With Students.

This is a great entertaining video, and it got me wondering if it could be a model for some class projects — would it make sense for students to create similar videos demonstrating the historical transitions in, let’s say, the rule of law, or how children were treated (or, as one reader suggested, changing scientific beliefs)? You’d want to be very, very careful (and I’d probably avoid it) with using it to examine racial and gender attitudes, but there may very well be other attitudes that would be worth examining. At the very least, the video will offer a few minutes of enjoyable entertainment:

What a great video to help teach “Perception” to IB Theory Of Knowledge students:

Here’s another short video that would be great to teach “perception” in IB Theory of Knowledge classes. Thanks to Michelle Henry for the tip:

The PBS News Hour aired an impressive report on project-based learning in a Kentucky school district. I’m embedding the video below, but it might not come through on an RSS Reader:

Watch School District Uses Project Based Learning Over Testing on PBS. See more from PBS NewsHour.

The report refers to an interesting program in that state called “districts of innovation. You can read more about them here and here.

I’m adding this info to The Best Sites For Cooperative Learning Ideas and to The Best Articles Describing Alternatives To High-Stakes Testing.

The Anti-Defamation League has launched an “Imagine a World Without Hate” video and action campaign with the posting of this pretty amazing video. It can be used in many ways, including as part of a “what if?” history lesson. That’s why I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Teaching “What If?” History Lessons:

Rick Wormeli shared these two very useful videos of education researcher John Hattie:

I’m adding this excellent video on how African men are stereotyped in Hollywood movies to The Best Geography Sites For Learning About Africa. It’ll be a great way to also get my ESL students to start talking about how they feel their cultures have also been stereotyped.

The wonderful StoryCorps stories on NPR are great pieces to read and listen to on the radio. They also have converted a number of them into short video animations, and many of them (though not the one I’ve embedded below) are closed-captioned.

Here is one of my favorites — with the late, great Studs Terkel:

I’m adding this video to The Best Resources About Wealth & Income Inequality:

The well-regarded documentary The Finland Phenomenon is now online for free and is embedded below. I learned about its availability via a tweet by Pasi Sahlberg, which also included a radio interview. I’m adding it to The Best Resources To Learn About Finland’s Education System.

The Gates Foundation  released a new one of Hans Rosling’s “magic” world data videos (you can see his previous ones I’ve posted here). Check it out:

The eagle in this video certainly illustrates an example of perseverance. I’m adding it to The Best Videos Illustrating Qualities Of A Successful Language Learner:

I’m adding this video to The Best Resources On Helping Our Students Develop A “Growth Mindset”:

NASA released this video showing temperature changes in the world since 1880 and including 2012 — it’s an updated version of one they’ve released in previous years. I’m adding it to The Best Sites To Learn About Climate Change.

What A Great Video To Show The Importance Of Modeling & Support:

Dan Pink was interviewed on CBS, and it really gets at some key elements of motivation and goal-setting. There’s nothing new there for people familiar with his work, but it’s a great piece to show to colleagues and to students. I’ve embedded it below, though am not sure if it will show-up in an RSS Reader:

I’m adding it to The Best Posts & Articles On “Motivating” Students and to The Best Posts On Students Setting Goals.

Eduardo Briceño is the Co-Founder, with Dr. Carol Dweck, of Mindset Works:

I’m adding it to The Best Resources On Helping Our Students Develop A “Growth Mindset.”

I wouldn’t put this next video in the same class as the other ones on this list, but I think readers might still find it useful. Eye On Education, the publisher of my new books on student motivation, Helping Students Motivate Themselves and Self-Driven Learning, have just posted a short video clip from a webinar I did for them.

In it, I share three strategies that can help students develop intrinsic motivation:

Feedback is welcome.

If you found this post useful, you might want to look at the 1,100 other “The Best…” lists and consider subscribing to this blog for free.

May 3, 2013
by Larry Ferlazzo
1 Comment

Must-Watch Video: Rita Pierson On “Every kid needs a champion”

This TED Talk video from Rita Pierson on “Every Kid Needs A Champion” is a great one.

TED is billing it as a “teaser” for their big TED Talks On Education extravaganza coming up next week.

I had never heard of Rita Pierson before, but she makes great points. I wonder how and why she got connected to Ruby Payne? (see The Best Critiques Of Ruby Payne).

I’m adding the video to The Best Resources On The Importance Of Building Positive Relationships With Students.

December 20, 2012
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

All My 2012 “The Best…” Lists On Education Policy In One Place

I’ve posted quite a few “The Best…” lists on education policy issues this year, and thought readers might find it useful if I collected them all in one post.

You might also be interested in:

A Collection Of “The Best…” Lists On School Reform Issues — 2011

The Best “The Best…” Lists On School Reform Issues — 2010

Here are all my 2012 “Best” lists on education policy issues:

The Best Commentaries On The President’s Proposal For Students To Stay In School Until They’re Eighteen — January, 2012

The Best Critiques Of Ruby Payne

The Best Posts On The Gates’ Funded Measures Of Effective Teaching Report

The Best Posts On The NY Times-Featured Teacher Effectiveness Study

The Best Education Articles From “The Onion” (for a little levity)

The Best Posts About The Most Bizarre Standardized Test Question Ever

The Best Posts & Articles On Building Influence & Creating Change

A Beginning List Of The Best Posts & Articles On Accelerated Reader

The Best Posts On Computer-Graded Essays

The Best Resources On The Idea Of Extending The School Day

The Best Posts Questioning If Direct Instruction Is “Clearly Superior”

The Best Resources On The Importance Of Knowing What You Don’t Know

The Best Resources For Learning About Parent Fundraising & Equity Issues

My Best Posts On Building Parent Engagement In Schools — 2012 (So Far)

The Best Resources On “Race To The Top”

The Best Posts On The Weirdest School Reform Story Of The Year (So Far, At Least)

The Best Posts On “Loss Aversion” & Schools

The Best Posts/Articles On This Year’s Phi Delta Kappa and Gallup Education Poll — 2012

“The Best Posts & Articles On Parent Trigger Movie “Won’t Back Down””

The Best Articles, Videos & Posts On Education Policy In 2012 — So Far

The Best Posts On The “Flipped Classroom” Idea

The Best Resources On The Newly-Released California Educator Excellence Task Force Report

The Best Resources On The Chicago Teachers’ Strike

A Sampling Of The Best Tweets With The #SaidNoTeacherEver Hashtag

The Best Posts & Articles About Why Book “Leveling” Is A Bad Idea

The Best Posts On “Gamification” In Education — Help Me Find More

The Best Articles, Videos & Posts On Education Policy In 2012 — Part Two

The Best Articles Pointing Out That Our Schools Are Not Failing — Please Suggest More

The Best Analyses Of Today’s Release Of TIMSS and PIRLS International Student Test Results

The best — and worst — education news of 2012