Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

December 27, 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 2014 – Part Two.

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

Predictions produce interest is a post from Annie Murphy Paul. It provides more evidence for why most of us teach prediction as a reading strategy, and why we use it as an instructional strategy, too.

How Reading Transforms Us
is a New York Times article about some recent research. Here’s an excerpt:

“…we measured our participants’ personality traits and emotions before and after reading. We had expected that people who read a piece of fiction would experience the greatest fluctuation in their personality scores, but we didn’t find this. The genre of the text — fiction or nonfiction — didn’t matter much; what mattered was the degree of perceived artistry. Those who read a story or essay that they judged to be artistic changed their personality scores significantly more than did those who judged what they read to be less artistic.”

I’m adding it to The Best Resources On “Becoming What We Read.”

Science Shows Something Surprising About People Who Still Read Fiction is from Mic. I’m adding it to the same list.

Burning the Candle: Most US Kids Lack Sleep is from NBC News and reports on a recent study. I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Helping Teens Learn About The Importance Of Sleep.

Feeling Socially Connected Fuels Intrinsic Motivation And Engagement is from the Shanker Blog, and provides an overview of some potentially useful research.

I’ve embedded a chart below that compares how long many different emotions last. Boy, we teachers need to study it and reflect on which ones we think our students feel when they’re in our classrooms:

I’m adding it to The Best Posts On Classroom Management.

Studying for the Test by Taking It is from The New York Times and reports on recent research. It has a broad definition of “test” and is pretty interesting.

Learning from Live Theater is from Education Next and reviews research on the value of taking students on field trips.

Kids Who Exercise Don’t Sweat Tests is from Scientific American. I’m adding it to The Best Resources On How Exercise Helps Learning.

New knowledge about human brain’s plasticity is a report from Science Daily. Most of it isn’t particularly interesting, but it does make some useful comments about myelin, which I discuss in Deliberate Practice, Myelin & The Brain. I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Showing Students That They Make Their Brain Stronger By Learning.

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December 27, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

The Best Research On Why Some Students Ask For More Or Less Help Than Others

There has been some relatively recent research on why some students ask for more or less help than others, primarily based on socio-economic background. I’ve been thinking about this lately, and thought I’d bring together some resources for other educators who might be reflecting on it, too (feel free to suggest additional items):

Studying the Ways Students Get Help with Classwork is by Sarah Sparks and appeared in The American Educator.

Asking for help isn’t easy for some students appeared in The Chicago Tribune.

Middle-Class Kids Benefit from ‘Pushing’ for Teacher Help, Research Suggests is from Ed Week.

Want Students to Ask for Help? Talk to Parents. is also from Ed Week.

Poorer Kids May Be Too Respectful at School is from Scientific American.

Help-Seekers and Silent Strugglers is from The American Educator.

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December 25, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Recent Skeptical Ed Tech Research

December 24, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
1 Comment

Quote Of The Day: Fast Food Bad For Student Brains

In a not very big surprise, researchers found that eating junk food means students do worse in school.

Here’s a quote from a story about the study:

Researchers-found-that

The Washington Post goes on to say:

Why exactly fast food could be blunting school children’s brains is unclear. A study conducted last year showed that nutrients like iron, which can be lacking in fast food, are essential for the development of a child’s brain. Diets high in fat and cholesterol have also been linked to poorer memory.

I’m adding this info to The Best Sites For Learning About Nutrition & Food Safety.

I have a lesson plan in my upcoming book on student motivation about this very topic, and this study reinforces it.

While I’m at it, I’m adding The New York Times interactive, What 2,000 Calories Looks Like, to the same list.

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December 22, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

Additional Resources On Deliberate Practice — Including Music & Videos!

The idea of deliberate practice continues to be in the news, particularly as some researchers seek to criticize the “10,000 hour rule.” What is sometimes lost in the arcane disagreements between academicians about this topic is the key point that we teachers need to communicate to our students — yes, natural talent and intelligence has a major role in what we can achieve expertise in, but deliberate practice is something that any one of us can control. It doesn’t appear — at least, as of today — that researchers have discovered anything else that is in our hands that can have a greater impact on personal success.

That said, here are some new additions to The Best Resources For Learning About The 10,000 Hour Rule & Deliberate Practice:

First off, you’ll want to watch the videos and read Daniel Coyle’s post, The Power of High-Leverage Practice. The greatest catch to every occur in NFL history happened this season, and it wasn’t an accident.

This next piece is probably old news to many, but it’s new to me that the recording artist Macklemore released a song titled “10,000 Hours” on this very topic. Some of the lyrics are not appropriate for the classroom (barely), but some sections would be worth playing as part of a lesson on deliberate practice.

Here is part of one verse:

I stand here in front of you today all because of an idea
I could be who I wanted if I could see my potential
And I know that one day I’mma be him
Put the gloves on, sparring with my ego
Everyone’s greatest obstacle, I beat ‘em
Celebrate that achievement
Got some attachments, some baggage I’m actually working on leaving
See, I observed Escher
I love Basquiat
I watched Keith Haring
You see I study art
The greats weren’t great because at birth they could paint
The greats were great cause they paint a lot
I will not be a statistic

And here’s the chorus:

Ten thousand hours felt like ten thousand hands
Ten thousands hands, they carry me
Ten thousand hours felt like ten thousand hands
Ten thousands hands, they carry me

And here’s a music video of the entire song (again, some words are not classroom appropriate):

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December 20, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

Study: Conscientiousness + Curiosity = Academic Success

Other-rated personality and academic performance:Evidence and implications is the title of a new interesting and helpful meta-analysis that finds conscientiousness and curiosity are more important than natural intelligence for student academic success.

It also found that teachers were much more accurate evaluators of the levels present of those two qualities than the students themselves, and supports the idea of teachers intentionally cultivating those abilities (thought their suggestions seemed pretty weak to me).

The conscientiousness part is not anything new, but the paper does provide a helpful summary of research findings that support its importance.

The specific role of curiosity, though, I thought was particularly intriguing. It supports my plan to develop some lesson plans designed to help students be more intentional about developing it among themselves, and this study will be a part of them.

I’ll be adding this post to both The Best Posts On Curiosity and to The Best Social Emotional Learning (SEL) Resources.

Here’s an excerpt from the study, and you can also read another summary of it at the PsyBlog:

Conscientiousness

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December 11, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

“Should students discover their own math lessons?”

I’ve written a lot in my books and in posts about the value of a “constructivist” approach in the classroom (see The Best Posts Questioning If Direct Instruction Is “Clearly Superior” and The Best Research Demonstrating That Lectures Are Not The Best Instructional Strategy).

The Hechinger Report has just written about yet another study supporting this kind of “assisted discovery” instructional strategy, and you can read about it at Should students discover their own math lessons?

Here’s an excerpt:

So-which-is-better-a

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November 30, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
1 Comment

“Grit” Runs Amok In The New York Times

As regular readers know, I’m a big supporter of helping students develop Social Emotional Learning Skills (see The Best Social Emotional Learning (SEL) Resources), including grit/resilience (see The Best Resources For Learning About “Grit”).

At the same time, however, I’ve been very concerned about how some advocates of SEL have been promoting it as the cure-all for everything that ails schools and society (see The Best Articles About The Study Showing Social Emotional Learning Isn’t Enough and my Washington Post column, The manipulation of Social Emotional Learning).

Another ugly face to the SEL debate was raised in a recent New York Times column — using a first step towards genetic engineering to promote the SEL quality of grit/resilience.

No, that last sentence was not a joke.

In The Downside of Resilience, Professor Jay Belsky (who works down the street at the University of California in Davis), suggests that we can genetically identify children who would be more and less likely to have resilience and then:

Should-we-seek-to

Professor Belsky, who appears to have a history of making dubious claims (see Salon’s article, Jay Belsky doesn’t play well with others), primarily supports his belief in this Brave New World by citing a study made by Professor Kenneth Dodge in the Fast Track Project. However, Professor Dodge seems to have come to the opposite conclusion:

“This study adds to the experimental evidence for the important role that environment plays,” Dodge said. “Genes do not write an inalterable script for a child’s life. And not only does the environment matter greatly in a child’s development, we’ve shown that you can intervene and help that child succeed in life.”

Anthony Cody has previously written
about some of the connections between the eugenics movement and advocates of “grit.” I’ve got to say that, at the time, I thought his contention was overblown.

Now, however, this kind of column makes that connection clear — at least with some of these “grit” zealots. Anthony has written a post about this Times column, too, which I would suggest you read — The Resilience of Eugenics.

A few months ago I wrote a post titled With Friends Like David Brooks, Social Emotional Learning Doesn’t Need Any Enemies after The Times published another ridiculous SEL-related column.

Just substitute Professor Belsky’s name in that headline….

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November 29, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

Two New Big SEL Studies – & Neither Are Particularly Useful

Social Emotional Learning (SEL) continues to generate more and more interest. Unfortunately, not all of this interest is particularly positive.

Two new big studies on SEL have recently been released, and while one is pretty much a rehash of older studies on it, the other is the same rehash along with a potentially damaging call for SEL tests and “accountability.”

The Character Factor: Measures and Impact of Drive and Prudence is from Brookings. Anyone familiar with SEL will be able to skim through it quickly. You won’t find anything new in it, but if you’re looking for another summary of research that shows why it’s important, you’ll find that there.

The more damaging report comes from The New America Foundation in a report on Skills For Success (it’s the same as SEL, and I’m not sure why they used this other term). There, you’ll find a similar review of old studies, and the damaging part comes when they start proposing tests and accountability for teachers, students and schools to ensure that they are teaching/learning these skills, including the infamous KIPP report card on character (see Why schools should not grade character traits).

I’m adding this post to The Best Social Emotional Learning (SEL) Resources — not because they’re great, but because I suspect the second one is particular is going to be quoted a lot and it’s important for educators to know about it.

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November 25, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

My Best Posts On New Research Studies In 2014 – Part Two

974812680136742_a-7f472427_GfJ0VA_pm

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 end-of-year “Best” lists, and it makes sense now to publish one on recent studies. You can see all my 1,400 “Best” lists here.

You might also be interested in:

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

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 – Part Two:

The Power Of Having A “Purpose For Learning” In The Classroom

Oh, Boy, This Is Great! Researcher’s Scans Show Brain Connections Growing When Learning New Language

“Why Your Brain Loves Good Storytelling”

“We’re hooked on easy answers and undervalue asking good questions”

What A Shock! Study Finds That Student Reflection Helps Learning

What A Surprise – NOT! British Study Finds That Cash Rewards Don’t Motivate Students

“Curiosity improves memory by tapping into the brain’s reward system”

Another Study Finds The Destructive Effects Of Grade Retention

“How Diversity Makes Us Smarter”

Researchers See What A Growth Mindset Does To The Brain

VERY Interesting Info On The Results Of KIPP’s “Character Education” Program

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

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

“A shocking statistic about the quality of education research”

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

It Doesn’t Matter If It’s “Effective” If Students Won’t Do It

Big New Study On Deliberate Practice

New Study Reinforces Previous Ones Showing SEL Lessons Need To Be Short & Simple

The Best Research Demonstrating That Lectures Are Not The Best Instructional Strategy

Effective teaching: 10 tips on what works and what doesn’t is from The Guardian. It’s a very interesting summary of a meta-analysis on research done over the years.

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November 25, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

The Power Of Having A “Purpose For Learning” In The Classroom

An interesting study (Yay! It’s not behind a paywall), co-authored by a number of researchers (including Angela Duckworth of “grit” fame) has just been published finding that helping students identify a “purpose” results in higher academic achievement.

Here’s their definition of “purpose for learning”:

We define a purpose for learning as a goal that is motivated both by an opportunity to benefit the self and by the potential to have some effect on or connection to the world beyond the self (Yeager & Bundick, 2009; Yeager et al., 2012; see Burrow & Hill, 2011; Damon et al., 2003). Embedded in this definition is a focus on the motive or rationale for the goal (e.g., “helping people”) rather than on content of a goal (e.g., “being an engineer”; Massey, Gebhardt, & Garnefski, 2008). For example, a purpose for learning in a high school science class might be that a student would one day like to use the acquired knowledge to build bridges that help people (a self-transcendent component). The same student might also believe that engineering would be a fulfilling, interesting, and enjoyable career (a self-oriented component).

Researchers say the only intervention that was required was spending one class period having students respond to two writing prompts asking them:

What do you want to get out of high school? What kind of person do you want to be?

Why is learning important to your goals?

Those prompts were included in a “script” that can be found on page 83 and 84 of the study.

You can read a good summary of the study at Jonah Lehrer’s blog.

The study’s findings are no big surprise — many of us have been doing something similar with Dan Pink’s “one sentence” idea (see The Best Resources For Doing A “One-Sentence Project”). Their suggested writing exercise could be a good warm-up for students prior to creating their one-sentence. It’s nice that they made it available for others to use.

There are also similarities between the new study and another one that I’ve written about where students identify values that are important to them.

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November 17, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

Oh, Boy, This Is Great! Researcher’s Scans Show Brain Connections Growing When Learning New Language

lilab

Photo from Ping Li Lab, Penn State

Regular readers of this blog and/or my books are familiar with how I help students see the physical impact learning new things can have on its brains (see The Best Resources For Showing Students That They Make Their Brain Stronger By Learning). It has a powerful impact on students.

I use that lesson with my English Language Learners, too, as well as helping them see The Advantages To Being Bilingual Or Multilingual.

Today, though, I learned about a brand new study that found, and shows, the direct physical impact learning a new language has on the brain. Showing those images (see the top of this post and in the links below) and excerpts from the study will really bring the point home to my ELL students.

Here’s a quote from the researcher:

Learning-and-practicing

Here are links to and about the study:

Learning languages is a workout for brains, both young and old

Second language experience modulates neural specialization for first language lexical tones

Neural changes underlying successful second language word learning: An fMRI study

Learning a New Language Changes Functionality and Structure of Brain Networks

Neuroplasticity as a function of second language learning: Anatomical changes in the human brain

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November 16, 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):

Pupils benefit from praise, but should teachers give it to them publicly or privately? is from Research Digest. I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Learning How To Best Give Feedback To Students.

Get to Know Your Teachers, Kids is from the Atlantic and discusses the results of a new study. I’m adding it to The Best Resources On The Importance Of Building Positive Relationships With Students.

What Doesn’t Motivate Creativity Can Kill It is from The Harvard Business Review. I’m adding it to The Best Sources Of Advice On Helping Students Strengthen & Develop Their Creativity.

Why Self-Control and Grit Matter — and Why It Pays to Know the Difference is from The APS Observer. I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Learning About The Importance Of “Grit.”

Curiosity: It Helps Us Learn, But Why? is from NPR. I’m adding it to The Best Posts On Curiosity.

Teens with earlier school start times have higher crash rates is from Eureka Alert. I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Helping Teens Learn About The Importance Of Sleep.

Why High schools Should Let Kids Sleep In is from The Washington Post. I’m adding it to the same list.

Why Your Brain Wants To Help One Child In Need — But Not Millions is from NPR.

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November 2, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

Classroom Instruction Resources Of The Week

Each week, I publish a post containing three or four particularly useful resources on classroom instruction, and you can see them all here.

Here are this week’s picks:

Effective teaching: 10 tips on what works and what doesn’t is from The Guardian. It’s a very interesting summary of a meta-analysis on research done over the years.

What makes great teaching? – expert views is also from the Guardian, and offers reactions to that report.

Kids pursue passions during ‘genius hour’ at Centennial Arts Academy is from a Florida newspaper. I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Applying “Fed Ex Days” To Schools.

Online Library of Common-Core Resources Expands is from Education Week. I’m adding it to The Most Useful Resources For Implementing Common Core — I Hope You’ll Contribute More.

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October 29, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

“Why Your Brain Loves Good Storytelling”

When-you-want-to

Why Your Brain Loves Good Storytelling is an excellent and short post at The Harvard Business Review about the research related to storytelling.

I’m adding it to The Best Digital (& Non-Digital) Storytelling Resources, where you’ll find similar resources (especially in the second half of that list).

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October 24, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

“We’re hooked on easy answers and undervalue asking good questions”

“Google makes us all dumber: The neuroscience of search engines: As search engines get better, we become lazier. We’re hooked on easy answers and undervalue asking good questions” is a very long headline for an interesting article in Salon.

Here’s an excerpt:

When-the-researchers

I’m adding it to The Best Posts & Articles About Asking Good Questions.

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October 20, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

What A Shock! Study Finds That Student Reflection Helps Learning

I’ve written a lot about the importance of reflection in learning (see The Best Resources On Student & Teacher Reflection).

A new study reinforces that perspective. You can read about it at Mental rest and reflection boost learning, study suggests.

Here’s an excerpt:

brain-scans-found-that

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October 12, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

Study Suggests Multi-Tasking Is Not So Bad — I’m Skeptical

Tons of research suggests that multitasking leads to people functioning less effectively on a number of levels (see The Best Resources On The Dangers Of Multitasking).

A new study suggests
that this might not be the case:

Contrary-to-popular

I believe that high school students are capable of great work, but I’ve also got to point out that this study — though it might have met rigorous scientific methods — was, nevertheless, done by two high school students. At this point, I have more confidence in all the prior research that has shown multitasking to be damaging.

However, it is an intriguing study and, perhaps, I should keep an open mind.

What do you think?

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October 11, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
1 Comment

What A Surprise – NOT! British Study Finds That Cash Rewards Don’t Motivate Students

In-the-biggest-study-of

In a newly-released study that reinforces scores of others, British researchers found that offering cash is not an effective motivator for students to do better on exams, “homework, behavior, or attendance.”

You can read more at:

Schools told: cash bribes ‘fail to improve GCSE grades’ is from The Telegraph.

Student rewards such as cash and free trips fail to improve GCSE results is from The Guardian.

But I’m sure these results won’t stop others from continuing to try, and fail, in seeking a non-existent market-driven solution to motivation for learning.

I’m adding this post to The Best Posts & Articles On “Motivating” Students, where you’ll also find resources on the things that do promote students motivating themselves….

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October 6, 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):

Benefits of ‘Deeper Learning’ Schools Highlighted in Studies is from Education Week.

Teaching Teenagers That People Change May Help Prevent Depression is also from Ed Week.

Lack of sleep increases risk of failure in school is from Science Daily. I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Helping Teens Learn About The Importance Of Sleep.

A Sense of Purpose Increases Comfort With Ethnic Diversity is from The Pacific Standard.

This is What Heavy Multitasking Could Be Doing To Your Brain is from Psy Blog. I’m adding it to The Best Resources On The Dangers Of Multitasking.

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