Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

March 20, 2017
by Larry Ferlazzo

Teaching Critical Thinking In History Reduces Belief In Pseudoscience

A new study has been released showing that teaching critical thinking in a history course makes those same students more skeptical of pseudoscience (see Critical thinking instruction in humanities reduces belief in pseudoscience).

It sounds like a fair amount of what they taught in that history class is similar to what we teach in Theory of Knowledge, including fallacies (The Best Multimedia Resources For Learning About Fallacies — Help Me Find More) and historical frauds.

If found this study particularly interesting because of other research discussed last week by Daniel Willingham (Better ELA teaching yields better math performance. But not vice versa). It suggests that Social Emotional Learning Skills and reading skills that students learn in English improve students’ math performance, but that not much is learned in math that helps in English.

Perhaps both math and science teachers might want to consider incorporating more critical thinking, SEL, and reading instruction in their courses?

You might be interested in The Best Resources On Teaching & Learning Critical Thinking In The Classroom, which includes my British Council piece on integrating critical thinking skills into English Language Learner instruction.

March 15, 2017
by Larry Ferlazzo

New Study: The Milgram Experiment Is Replicated

This week, my IB Theory of Knowledge classes will be learning about The Milgram and Stanford Prison Experiments.

You can find a ton of related resources at our class blog.

Coincidentally, yesterday researchers announced they had done a modern version that replicated the original findings:

Perfect timing! After we learn about the original Milgram, I’ll ask students if they think that people would act the same way today. It will be interesting to hear their responses. Afterwards, I’ll share this study.

March 15, 2017
by Larry Ferlazzo

How P.A. Announcements Affect Student Learning

Is there any teacher anywhere who is not annoyed by school P.A. announcements during class?

We all knew that they weren’t beneficial to student learning, and now there’s research showing the negative impact.

Irrelevant interruptions and their cost to thinking is a piece by Dr. Daniel Willingham reviewing new and older research on the impact of interruptions on memory and attention, and his last line is something for all of us to ponder:

March 7, 2017
by Larry Ferlazzo

The Best Resources For Learning About Teacher Action Research – Help Me Find More

Teacher Action Research an be a useful tool for educators and our students.

You might also be interested in The Best Resources For Understanding How To Interpret Education Research.

Here are a few resources to get started – please suggest more in the comments section:

Putting Teacher Action Research Into Action is the headline of my new post over at the British Council. In it, I describe three times when I applied teacher action research in my English Language Learner classes.

Guest Post: Teacher Action Research is a post written by my colleague Phillip Taylor.

Action Research – as easy as 1, 2, 3 is by David Petrie at the British Council.

What Is Action Research? is from ASCD.

What Teachers Need to Know About Action Research is by Wendi Pillars at Ed Week.

The What, Why and How of Classroom Action Research is a useful guide from a university in Indiana.

February 23, 2017
by Larry Ferlazzo

New Study On Reading Takes Right Idea & Messes It Up

Supporting Students Reading Complex Texts:Evidence for Motivational Scaffolding is a new study shared by Dylan Wiliam on Twitter.

It starts with a premise used many times before — they have tutors try different instructional strategies to help teach reading to determine which ones are most effective. Many of the ones they used can be found at The Best Posts On Reading Strategies & Comprehension – Help Me Find More!

The interesting twist, however, in this study is that they add a strategy that is not often found in these kinds of studies — they want to see how those teaching techniques compare with ones that would focus on generating student motivation.

Great idea!  Of course, I was hoping to read how they were going to incorporate the most common and effective form of enhancing student motivation to read – having them read books of their choice (see The Best Resources Documenting The Effectiveness of Free Voluntary Reading).

Alas, I was disappointed.  The study’s authors were focused on “motivational scaffolding”  that emphasized competition and extrinsic rewards.

They found that their versions of “motivational scaffolding” were more effective than other strategies in teaching reading comprehension.  Of course, it’s based on short-term test results, and overwhelming evidence demonstrates that extrinsic motivation might result in short-term gains, but generally also results in lower long-term motivation (see Best Posts On “Motivating” Students).

I am regularly surprised at how often researchers often miss what is staring them right in the face.


February 23, 2017
by Larry Ferlazzo

NPR Publishes Everything You Wanted To Know About ELLs, But Were Afraid To Ask….

everything, scott richard

Creative Commons License torbakhopper via Compfight

Well, the headline of this post is a bit of an exaggeration, but NPR has just published an important compilation of research about ELLs headlined 5 Million English Language Learners: A Vast Pool Of Talent, At Risk.

It’s probably the most up-to-date, and accessible, data about ELLs you’re going to find anywhere right now.

I’m adding it to The Best Ways To Keep-Up With Current ELL/ESL/EFL News & Research.

February 18, 2017
by Larry Ferlazzo

Study Finds That It’s True: Good Teaching Conditions For Educators Equals Good Learning Conditions For Students

Study: Teacher Satisfaction, Collaboration Are Keys to Student Achievement is the headline of an Education Week story about a new study (which is, unfortunately, behind a paywall).

Here’s an excerpt:

I’m adding it to The Best Posts & Articles About The Importance Of Teacher (& Student) Working Conditions.


February 16, 2017
by Larry Ferlazzo

New Study Reaffirms What Teachers Know: Relationships Matter

The Search Institute has probably done more research than anyone over the past few years on the importance of positive relationships in the lives of young people.

They have recently issued a new publication titled “Relationships First: Creating Conditions That Help Young People Thrive.” You can get a free copy by going to the link and giving them your email. I learned about it from Kate Maguire.

Here’s an excerpt:

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

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