Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

September 27, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Another Study Finds The Destructive Effects Of Grade Retention

Study after study has found that grade retention doesn’t work (you can find them at The Best Resources For Learning About Grade Retention, Social Promotion & Alternatives To Both), yet the practice continues in many schools.

Scarring effects of primary-grade retention? is a report on the latest research. Here’s an excerpt:

Events-early-in-the

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September 25, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Everything You Wanted To Know About The Marshmallow Test But Were Afraid To Ask

Dr. Walter Mischel, the creator of the famous Marshmallow Test to measure self-control, has just published a book and, in addition to the interview I did with him last week for Education Week Teacher, many other excellent pieces on his work have just been published.

I’ve been writing about his week for years, and you can find all those posts and many others at The Best Posts About Helping Students Develop Their Capacity For Self-Control, including the related lesson I do with my students.

Here are some of the best interviews that have appeared over the past few days, along with a few “extras.” Dr. Mischel is appearing on The Colbert Report tonight, but the video isn’t up on the Colbert site at this time I originally publish this post. Assuming I think it’s useful, I’ll add it in the morning (It’s now been added):

What the Marshmallow Test Really Teaches About Self-Control is from The Atlantic.

7 things marshmallows teach us about self-control is from Vox.

EXTRAS

The Marshmallow Test for Grownups is from The Harvard Business Review.

A Mental Trick from the World’s Best Team is by Daniel Coyle.

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September 25, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
1 Comment

Shocking! Study Finds That School Counselors Help Students

I’ve been a huge supporter of school counselors, and see everyday how they help students — and me — at our school. I’ve also published a two-part series at Education Week Teacher about their importance.

The Pacific Standard has just published a report on a new study providing a little more ammunition to those of us who would like to get more counselors in our schools.

Check out their article, School Counselors Do More Than You’d Think.

Here’s an excerpt:

counselor

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September 23, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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“How Diversity Makes Us Smarter”

When we do group work in my classes, I often select who goes in which group to make sure there’s a good ethnic, gender and ability balance.

At other times, though, I will let students choose their own groups. I always preface that self-selection process, though, at the beginning of the year with a discussion of research that shows the benefits of diversity in groups. I then ask that they keep that in mind, especially around ethnicity and gender, when they create their groups — not always, but most of the time. Generally, students are pretty good about respecting that request, and I think their hearing the reasons behind my request have a lot to do with it.

Scientific American has now published what I think is the perfect article (or, at least, excerpts from it) on this issue. It’s titled “How Diversity Makes Us Smarter.”

Here’s an excerpt:

The-groups-with-racial

I’m adding this info to My Best Posts On The Basics Of Small Groups In The Classroom.

You might also be interested in The Best Sites For Cooperative Learning Ideas.

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September 22, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Research Studies Of The Week

'magnifying glass' photo (c) 2005, Tall Chris - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

I often write about research studies from various fields 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.

By the way, you might also be interested in My Best Posts On New Research Studies In 2013 and My Best Posts On New Research Studies In 2014 – So Far.

Here are some new useful studies (and related resources):

Better Teachers Receive Worse Student Evaluations is the provocative headline of a Harvard Business Review report on a new study. Since I’m also a big advocate of using student evaluations of teachers and an equally strong believer in their not being used in the formal evaluation process, I was going to pay to get access to it, but then I read this more extensive analysis of the research as the Chronicle of Higher Education. It sounds like its focus is on a more esoteric mathematical critique of how the results are used in colleges instead of broader discussion of the bigger problems behind their use. Nevertheless, I’m still adding this info to The Best Posts On Students Evaluating Classes (And Teachers).

Why Girls Tend to Get Better Grades Than Boys Do is a report in the Atlantic about some new research, and actions taken in response to it. I don’t think it shares anything that most teachers don’t know already, but the actions are interesting — and it can’t hurt to have research to back up what you know if you want to do something about it. I’m adding it to The Best Resources On Grading Practices.

Enhancing and Practicing Executive Function Skills with Children from Infancy to Adolescence
is an impressive — and free — online guide from Harvard.

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September 19, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Researchers See What A Growth Mindset Does To The Brain

Many of us teachers have seen the effect of helping our students develop a growth mindset — that their recognizing that effort trumps intelligence will result in success and better learning.

You can read more about this idea, coming out of the work of Carol Dweck, at The Best Resources On Helping Our Students Develop A “Growth Mindset.”

Now, researchers have announced results of a study where they’ve actually peered into the brains of some who believe that effort is more important, and into the minds of those who believe that native intelligence is number one.

You can read about their work at Brains Get a Performance Boost From Believing Effort Trumps Genetics in TIME.

Here’s an excerpt:

The-researchers-think (1)

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September 18, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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VERY Interesting Info On The Results Of KIPP’s “Character Education” Program

The Fordham Institute has just published a post by Laurence Steinberg titled “Is character education the answer?”

It shares some fascinating research results on the KIPP charter schools’ well-publicized character education program.

The results came from a Mathematica study that compared KIPP students with those who did not win lotteries to attend the KIPP schools. Of course, the obvious flaw in such a study is that both groups of students have highly-motivated parents/families. It’s always surprising, if not shocking, to me that many charter school supporters and researchers don’t recognize this obvious characteristic of charter school students (and lottery participants).

Even with this flaw, the results are intriguing. Here is what Mathematica found in comparing the qualities that typically are described as Social Emotional Learning skills:

The KIPP children showed no advantage on any of the measures of character strengths. They weren’t more effortful or persistent. They didn’t have more favorable academic self-conceptions or stronger school engagement. They didn’t score higher than the comparison group in self-control. In fact, they were more likely to engage in “undesirable behavior,” including losing their temper, lying to and arguing with their parents, and giving teachers a hard time. They were more likely to get into trouble at school. Despite the program’s emphasis on character development, the KIPP students were no less likely to smoke, drink, get high, or break the law.

As Sternberg suggests:

developing teenagers’ self-regulation may require something other than parables, slogans, inspirational banners, and encouragement from compassionate teachers.

I would also suggest that KIPP’s system of grading these kinds of character traits have a lot to do with this lack of success, also, as I wrote in a Washington Post column about KIPP’s program awhile back. The piece is titled Why schools should not grade character traits.

Sternberg makes his own suggestions about what he thinks would make for an effective character education program. I don’t think it has to be that complicated, particularly since there is substantial research showing that short-and-simple classroom lessons and a relationship-oriented school culture can help students want to develop these kinds of skills. You can find links to that research and to many of those kinds of lessons at The Best Social Emotional Learning (SEL) Resources.

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September 16, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Self-Control, Grit & All That Stuff

Marshmallows from Flickr via Wylio

© 2007 rjp, Flickr | CC-BY | via Wylio

Regular readers know that I’m a big advocate of teaching Social Emotional Learning skills in the classroom (see The Best Social Emotional Learning (SEL) Resources), but that I also am wary of how it is being viewed by some as almost a cure-all (see my Washington Post piece, The manipulation of Social Emotional Learning).

There have recently been some interesting articles and research about the topic that I thought readers might want to know about…

The MindShift blog writes about a new study by “grit” researcher Angela Duckworth that has tried to update the famous self-control marshmallow experiment for the digital age. She calls it a “diligence test” and you can read about it at Measuring Students’ Self-Control: A ‘Marshmallow Test’ for the Digital Age. You can see a demo of the online test here, though it won’t make much sense until you read the MindShift post. The post says she’s going to put the test online for people to take for free, and that might be useful. The key point to remember, though, is to tell students what I tell mine before they take her online “grit” test — it’s just one more piece of information they might or might not find useful and they should feel free to ignore the results if they don’t agree with them.

Speaking of her grit test, I was prompted by the post to see if her diligence test was online yet and found that, other than the demo, it wasn’t. However, I did find that she upgraded her website, and the online grit test is now better designed. In addition, multilingual versions are available.

And, speaking of The Marshmallow Test, The New York Times has published an article about its originator, Dr. Walter Mischel. It’s headlined Learning How to Exert Self-Control.

I’ve previously written a lot about Dr. Mischel, and you can read my interview with him on Sunday in Education Week Teacher.

I’m adding this post to The Best Resources For Learning About “Grit” and to The Best Posts About Helping Students Develop Their Capacity For Self-Control.

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September 15, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

Research Studies Of The Week

'magnifying glass' photo (c) 2005, Tall Chris - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

I often write about research studies from various fields 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.

By the way, you might also be interested in My Best Posts On New Research Studies In 2013 and My Best Posts On New Research Studies In 2014 – So Far.

Here are some new useful studies (and related resources):

Dispelling the Myth of Deferred Gratification is by Alfie Kohn and appeared in Ed Week. I’m adding it to My Best Posts About Helping Students Develop Their Capacity For Self-Control.

A Feeling of Control: How America Can Finally Learn to Deal With Its Impulses is a very interesting piece from The Pacific Standard. I’m adding it to the same list.

Keeping 9th Graders on Track Can Move Grad Rate, Research Finds is also from Ed Week.

Report: Technology benefits at-risk students is from Ed Source. I’m adding it to The Best Research Available On The Use Of Technology In Schools.

‘Grit’ May Not Spur Creative Success, Scholars Say is from Ed Week. I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Learning About “Grit.”

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September 10, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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How Can A Parrot Help Students Develop Self-Control?

Previous readers of this blog and my blogs are familiar with much of my writing about helping students develop self-control, including lessons using the famous Marshmallow Test (see The Best Posts About Helping Students Develop Their Capacity For Self-Control). In fact, in about ten days you’ll be able to read at my Ed Week Teacher column an interview I recently did with Dr. Walter Mischel, originator of that experiment.

One of the key elements of any of my self-control lessons is highlighting the different techniques that children used to avoid eating the marshmallow (looking away, etc.) and how students can apply them in class. In that “The Best” list, you’ll be able to see a fun Sesame Street video where The Cookie Monster demonstrates those same successful strategies, and my high school students love watching it as a refresher later in the school year after we learn about the Marshmallow Experiment in September.

And this leads me to parrots….

Researchers have found that some parrots, unlike other non-human species, also have a capacity for self-control, and created a version of the Marshmallow Experiment for them. You can read more about it at a Slate article titled A Parrot Passes the Marshmallow Test.

It’s very interesting but, as far as I’m concerned, the most useful part of the article is this short video. I plan showing it to students later in the year as another fun “refresher” — students can watch and identify the strategies used by the children and the parrot to reinforce their self-control.

I’m adding this info to my Best list on self-control.

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September 7, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

Study: “Asking for Advice Makes You Seem More Competent, Not Less”

New York Magazine (and a bunch of other news outlets) recently reported on new research which found, as the headline of the magazine article and this post says, that “Asking for Advice Makes You Seem More Competent, Not Less.”

Here’s an excerpt:

Across-five-studies-a

I’ve certainly found this to be true, and often ask parents and students for their teaching advice, and definitely never hesitate asking the same of my colleagues.

This seems to be a variation of The Ben Franklin Effect, which I’ve previously discussed on more than one occasion.

The “Effect” goes:

You grow to like people for whom you do nice things and hate people you harm.

And, as I said in that previous post, a classroom version is:

Many teachers know that an effective classroom management move to turn a disruptive student into an ally is by giving him/her responsibilities in the classroom — tutoring another student, offering them a key classroom job, etc.

How has advice-seeking worked for you?

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September 7, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

Research Studies Of The Week

'magnifying glass' photo (c) 2005, Tall Chris - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

I often write about research studies from various fields 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.

By the way, you might also be interested in My Best Posts On New Research Studies In 2013 and My Best Posts On New Research Studies In 2014 – So Far.

Here are some new useful studies (and related resources):

How a Bigger Purpose Can Motivate Students to Learn is from MindShift. I’m adding it to The Best Posts & Articles On “Motivating” Students.

Memories of errors foster faster learning is from Science Daily. I’m adding it to The Best Posts, Articles & Videos About Learning From Mistakes & Failures.

Science Confirms It: If You Want To Succeed, You Have To Screw Up is from Co-Create. I’m adding it to the same list.

Inside the teenage brain: New studies explain risky behavior is from Science Daily. I’m adding it to The Best Posts About Helping Students Develop Their Capacity For Self-Control.

Reacting to personal setbacks: Do you bounce back or give up? is from Eureka Alert. I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Learning About “Grit.”

What is keeping your kids up at night? Turning off electronics helps everyone sleep better is from Science Daily. I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Helping Teens Learn About The Importance Of Sleep.

New Research: Students Benefit from Learning That Intelligence Is Not Fixed is from MindShift. I’m adding it to The Best Resources On Helping Our Students Develop A “Growth Mindset.”

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September 2, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
2 Comments

Big Surprise — NOT!: Study Says Students Are More Successful With “Active Learning” Than With Lectures

I’ve written a lot about how active learning is more effective than lectures (see The Best Research Demonstrating That Lectures Are Not The Best Instructional Strategy).

A big New York Times article headlined Active Role in Class Helps Black and First-Generation College Students, Study Says discusses yet another study that reinforces that view.

Here is how it begins:

The trend away from classes based on reading and listening passively to lectures, and toward a more active role for students, has its most profound effects on black students and those whose parents did not go to college, a new study of college students shows.

Active learning raised average test scores more than 3 percentage points, and significantly reduced the number of students who failed the exams, the study found. The score increase was doubled, to more than 6 percentage points, for black students and first-generation college students.

For black students, that gain cut in half their score gap with white students. It eliminated the gap between first-generation students and other students.

I’m adding it to the “Best” list mentioned at the beginning of the post.

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August 28, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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New Resources On Students & Sleep

August 26, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Excellent “Reading Research Summary” From Scholastic

open1

Scholastic has just unveiled a new website focused on the joy of reading. It includes a number of materials, including videos and a free downloadable book with contributions from educators about their own reading experiences.

In my mind, though, the most valuable part of it is a Reading Research Summary on the “Joy and Power of Reading.” I don’t think you’re going to find a better compilation anywhere.

I’m adding it to The Best Resources Documenting The Effectiveness of Free Voluntary Reading.

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August 21, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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“A shocking statistic about the quality of education research”

Valerie Strauss at The Washington Post picked up my original post on the lack of replication in education research (This Is Interesting & Depressing: Only .13% Of Education Research Experiments Are Replicated) and wrote a much more complete piece on it. She titled it A shocking statistic about the quality of education research.

I think it’s quite important, and worth a “read.”

I’m adding her post to The Best Resources For Understanding How To Interpret Education Research.

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August 16, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
2 Comments

This Is Interesting & Depressing: Only .13% Of Education Research Experiments Are Replicated

You know all those education ideas that people, including me, write about as being research-based?

Well, a new study has been published finding that only .13% of education research experiments are actually replicated by anybody else (that’s not a typo — it’s not 13% — it’s .13%. My original post mistakenly said the former percentage). And, of that .13%, sixty-eight percent were successfully replicated. However, that percentage dropped 54% if you only included replication efforts that didn’t include the original authors as part of the new team.

So, if you take that data into account, it’s even worse…..

Here are links related the paper:

The press release: Study Details Shortage of Replication in Education Research

Here’s the entire paper itself: Are More Important Than Novelty: Replication in the Education Sciences

And here are the final sentences of the paper:

Although-potentially

I’m adding post The Best Resources For Understanding How Interpret Education Research.

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August 8, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
1 Comment

Important Study: “Expecting to teach enhances learning, recall”

Findings-suggest-that

I’m a big proponent of students teaching their classmates using presentations, “jigsaws,” creating learning objects like clozes and sequencing activities, and many online tools to create materials for authentic audiences. You can read more about these ideas at The Best Posts On Helping Students Teach Their Classmates.

Now, new research finds what we teachers who have been making this kind of an activity a priority have known all along — students will put a whole lot of energy into learning what they have to teach others. In fact, the research finds students will employ more effecting learning strategies in this kind of teaching situation than if they are preparing for a test.

You can read the entire study here.

Here are a two more related “The Best” lists reader might find helpful:

The Best Resources On The Value & Practice Of Having Older Students Mentoring Younger Ones

The Best Places Where Students Can Write For An “Authentic Audience” (I probably need to update this one, but most of the resources listed there should still be usable)

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July 31, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
1 Comment

More Resources On The Connection Between Exercising & Learning

July 28, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

More Resources On Sleep & Teenagers