Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

August 1, 2015
by Larry Ferlazzo

Do You Know Of Research Showing That Writing For An “Authentic Audience” Helps Students Feel Motivated?

I know that my students appear to be more motivated to write at their best when doing so for an “authentic audience” apart from me.

That’s one reason I have an extensive The Best Places Where Students Can Write For An “Authentic Audience” list.

I’d be interested in hearing if you have suggestions of recent research that actually documents an increase in student motivation and/or writing improvement when there is an “authentic audience” that’s going to see it?

Thanks in advance for your help!

Here are responses I’ve received:

Reader Marie suggests this excellent Writing Next report.

BrandonHubbardHeitz suggested The Power of Audience.

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July 31, 2015
by Larry Ferlazzo
1 Comment

Send An Ed-Related Research Question To One Of The Regional Educational Laboratories – And They’ll Answer It!


Are you an educator seeking good research and/or answers on an education-related issue? If you are, you can go to the national website of the Regional Educational Laboratory Program, click on your state, type the question into the form, send it, and then staff at the appropriate center will research it and send you back resources, answers, data, etc. – for free.

I sent them some questions related to Common Core and the difference between “collaboration” and “cooperation.” They answered my questions and send me some studies (not behind paywalls) that I had missed in my initial research on the topic. It took me a month to get the response, but I know a portion of that delay was because of summer vacations. I suspect their turnaround time is typically shorter.

I think it’s a great service, and I suspect a lot of educators who might try it out after reading this blog post will end up agreeing with me….

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July 30, 2015
by Larry Ferlazzo

This New Report May Provide The Best Overview Available On Social Emotional Learning

Success  is ours!! :-)Creative Commons License Simply CVR via Compfight

Motivation Matters: How New Research Can Help Teachers Boost Student Engagement is a brand-new report from The Carnegie Foundation, and I think it provides the best overview of research on social emotional learning that’s available (I learned about it from The Atlantic).

It provides a well-balanced view of most of the elements considered falling under the “non-cognitive skills” department, and includes extensive criticism of some of them, including grit.

My only qualm with the report is that it takes too much at face value the claims of a consortium of California school districts called CORE (Our Sacramento district used to be part of it but, thankfully, we pulled out over a year ago. You can read more about that fiasco at The Best Posts & Articles On The NCLB Waiver Given To Eight California School Districts (Including Ours). Our District is now doing a great job on SEL under the leadership of Mai Xi Lee, our District’s SEL coordinator.

I’m adding this info to The Best Summaries/Reviews Of Research On Social Emotional Learning – Let Me Know What I’ve Missed.

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July 19, 2015
by Larry Ferlazzo

Some Recent New Resources On Education Research

Here are a few new useful resources specifically related to education research:

Assessing 21st Century Skills: Integrating Research Findings is from Pearson.

Thinking and Academic Success Skills is also from Pearson.

Here’s a huge collection of presentations that UK education researcher Dylan William has done on education issues, particularly around assessment.

8 Strategies Robert Marzano & John Hattie Agree On could be useful.

The Economics of Practice is from SqueakTime. I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Learning About The 10,000 Hour Rule & Deliberate Practice.

I’m adding this next tweet to

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July 17, 2015
by Larry Ferlazzo

Does This Big New Study On The Importance Of Social Skills Become A New “Marshmallow Test”?

You have probably heard about the big new study that has been in the news over the last twenty-four hours that traced the social skills (or lack of them) demonstrated in kindergarten to positive (or not-so-positive) life outcomes twenty years later. In many ways, it’s similar the how the famous Marshmallow Test worked to measure the long-term impact of early self-control (see The Best Posts About Helping Students Develop Their Capacity For Self-Control).

Twenty years ago, kindergarten teachers rated children on these criteria:

●Resolves peer problems on his/her own.

●Is very good at understanding other people’s feelings.

●Shares materials with others.

●Cooperates with peers without prompting.

●Is helpful to others.

●Listens to others’ point of view.

●Can give suggestions and opinions without being bossy

Twenty years later, children who had been rated “well” in most categories were much more likely to have graduated high school, graduated from college and had good jobs – among other measurements.

I think this study could provide the nucleus of a useful lesson for my students, and fits into the research I already share with them about how “teaching others” has been identified by researchers as an important quality of a good language learner (and a good learner, in general).

As Dr. Walter Mischel, creator of the Marshmallow Test, repeatedly emphasizes, his test is not indicative of destiny, and as long as that is communicated to students strongly, I think it couldn’t hurt for them to hear about this new study’s results.

As one commentator said:

The study provides a hopeful message, because it’s possible to improve social skills throughout childhood, said Lieser, chairwoman of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ council on early childhood, who wasn’t involved in the study.

And here’s what the study’s author said:

“Some people might look at this and say, ‘Well, if my child measures low on a scale like this, does this mean my child is doomed or … they are sentenced to all these terrible outcomes?’ ” said Jones, who is a research assistant professor of health and human development at Penn State.

The answer is no, he said, pointing to all the effective ways to address and help children develop good social and emotional skills, whether through schooling or parenting.

“The research greatly shows that these are the type of skills that are malleable, in fact much more malleable than say something like IQ or other things that are more likely traits that are more ingrained.”

Here are some samples of recent media coverage of this new study:

If you want your children to succeed, teach them to share in kindergarten is from The Washington Post.

Stow the flash cards mom and dad: Social skills better for your kids is from USA Today.

Study: Behavior in kindergarten linked to adult success is from CNN.

Good NY Times Column On Social Emotional Learning This Morning

I’ll be adding this post to The Best Social Emotional Learning (SEL) Resources.

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July 15, 2015
by Larry Ferlazzo

Research Studies Of The Week

'magnifying glass' photo (c) 2005, Tall Chris - license:

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 2015 – So Far.

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

The Cognitive Benefits of Doodling is from The Atlantic and Making Learning Visible: Doodling Helps Memories Stick is from MindShift. I’m adding them both to The Best Resources On The Educational Value Of Doodling.

The Good Habit Which Boosts Self-Control is from PsyBlog and Teenagers Who Don’t Get Enough Sleep at Higher Risk for Mental Health Problems is from Scientific American. I’m adding both to The Best Resources For Helping Teens Learn About The Importance Of Sleep.

Personality outsmarts intelligence at school is from Eureka Alert.

Reliance on smartphones linked to lazy thinking is from Science Daily.

The Benefits of No-Tech Note Taking is from The Chronicle of Higher Education. I’m adding it to The Best Resources On Effective Note-Taking Strategies – Help Me Find More.

This Is Your Brain on Exercise appeared in TIME. I’m adding it to The Best Resources On How Exercise Helps Learning — Please Contribute Other Resources.

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