Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

April 15, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo

New Study Highlights Six Components Of An Effective Apology


I’ve written a fair amount about the importance of teachers apologizing to students, both for modeling and relational purposes (see The Best Resources On The Importance Of Saying “I’m Sorry”).

A new study has been released that pretty much reinforces previous research, but it’s still interesting.

Here’s an excerpt from Science Daily about the results:

In two separate experiments, Lewicki and his co-authors tested how 755 people reacted to apologies containing anywhere from one to all six of these elements:

1. Expression of regret

2. Explanation of what went wrong

3. Acknowledgment of responsibility

4. Declaration of repentance

5. Offer of repair

6. Request for forgiveness

The research is published in the May 2016 issue of the journal Negotiation and Conflict Management Research. Lewicki’s co-authors were Robert Lount, associate professor of management and human resources at Ohio State, and Beth Polin of Eastern Kentucky University.

While the best apologies contained all six elements, not all of these components are equal, the study found.

“Our findings showed that the most important component is an acknowledgement of responsibility. Say it is your fault, that you made a mistake,” Lewicki said.

The second most important element was an offer of repair.

“One concern about apologies is that talk is cheap. But by saying, ‘I’ll fix what is wrong,’ you’re committing to take action to undo the damage,” he said.

The next three elements were essentially tied for third in effectiveness: expression of regret, explanation of what went wrong and declaration of repentance.

The least effective element of an apology is a request for forgiveness. “That’s the one you can leave out if you have to,” Lewicki said.

You can also read an article about about it in The Telegraph.

April 10, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo

No Surprise To Organizers: Two-Way Conversation More Successful Than One-Way Communication In Changing Minds


You may, or may not, have heard earlier this week about a study that found that advocates for transgender rights were successful in changing people’s minds on the topic after ten minutes of what was called “deep canvassing” – door-knocking and have structured conversations with them.

It’s great to have science provide evidence that leading with one’s ears, instead of one’s mouth, is effective at making change.

Of course, community organizers (I was one for nineteen years) have known for a long time that two-way conversation (its word roots mean “keep company with”) and not one-way communication (its word roots mean “impart; inform) works.

Organizers use a formula similar to what was reflected in the new study: sharing stories and helping people develop a new interpretation of them. It’s also what I think good teachers often do in the classroom.

Here are links to articles where you can read more about the study (I think the Vox piece is the best one) and I’ve embedded a video at the bottom of this post documenting this kind of “deep canvassing”:

These scientists can prove it’s possible to reduce prejudice is from Vox and, as I mentioned, is the best of the bunch.

How Do You Change Voters’ Minds? Have a Conversation is from The New York Times.

No, Wait, Short Conversations Really Can Reduce Prejudice is from The Atlantic.

In many ways, the strategy reflected in the new study was also used by the Obama campaign in 2008. It was an effort developed by organizer Marshall Ganz, and Obama spoke about it in his famous speech on race in Philadelphia during that year’s campaign (you can read that speech here and search “Ashley” – it’s near the end).

I’m adding this post to The Best Posts & Articles On Building Influence & Creating Change.

Here’s the video of “deep canvassing”:

April 9, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo

Good Overview Of Advantages & Disadvantages Of Group Learning

Does working as a group actually help us learn? is an article in today’s Guardian that provides a pretty balanced view of the research on the advantages and disadvantages of working and learning in groups.

Here’s an excerpt:



I’m adding this info to The Best Sites For Cooperative Learning Ideas.

April 8, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo

No Surprise – New Study Finds That Explaining Things Helps You Learn

This won’t come as a shock to any educator, but a new study reinforced previous research that explaining things helps you learn.

Explaining to yourself can be a powerful mechanism for learning is the study’s title. It spends some space identifying a few occasions where the author claims explaining can hinder learning, but I either don’t think that we teachers find ourselves in those situations very often or I don’t believe it — I haven’t decided which yet.

The real reason I’m writing this post, though, is I figured this new study would give me a reason to highlight a previous post I wrote about the same topic that I think teachers might find particularly useful: The Importance Of Explaining “Why”

Nevertheless, here’s an excerpt from the new study:


March 25, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo
1 Comment

Another Interesting Finding On The Value Of Having A “Purpose For Learning”

I’ve previously posted about several studies that have found lots of positive impacts on student self-control and perseverance if they have a “purpose for learning” (see No Big Surprise: Having A “Sense Of Purpose” In Life Enhances Self-Control).

Now, PERTS, the great Stanford-based group researching and producing useful resources on Social Emotional Learning issues (see Good Videos On A Growth Mindset, The Importance Of Learning From Mistakes & A Lot More) has unveiled research pointing to specific advantages if that purpose relates to a greater good:


I found it particularly interesting, and timely, since the first lesson I usually do post-Spring break is on Dan Pink’s “One Sentence Project” (see The Best Resources For Doing A “One-Sentence Project”).

In this lesson, students develop one sentence that they want people to say about them twenty-to-forty years down the line. More often than not, it is related to them having done something that made the world a better place….

March 24, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo

Study Finds – Wait For It – “School Climate” Matters For Student Learning


School conditions matter for student achievement, new research confirms is the headline of an article today in Chalkbeat NY.

Above the headline of the lengthy article they placed “Like Duh,” but I guess you can’t have too much research that avoids blaming teachers for problems that are beyond control, since so many academics and politicians do just that…

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

Thanks to Pedro Noguera for the tip.

March 23, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo

Another Flaw In Using Value-Added Measurement For Teacher Evaluation

Plenty of flaws have been found in using Value-Added Measurement for teacher evaluations (see The Best Resources For Learning About The “Value-Added” Approach Towards Teacher Evaluation).

Paul Bruno recently tweeted out a link to a new study that found another one — and it’s a flaw that most teachers knew already, but it’s nice to have research backing it up.

Here’s an excerpt from the abstract of Disruptive peers and the estimation of teacher value added:


Yup, those of us who have a reputation of being able to relate better to students with many challenges would get penalized for that ability under VAM…

Speaking of VAM, I had another thought when writing this post — though there are plenty of university researchers who have found lots of problems with VAM, there are still some who praise it.

I wonder how many of them would like to have VAM used to evaluate their teaching on the university level?

March 22, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo

Quote Of The Day: Power As Autonomy

The Atlantic published an article today (People Want Power Because They Want Autonomy) about a new study suggesting that often people desire power not primarily because they want to influence others but, instead, because they want autonomy in their own lives — they want to be able to able to feel like they can control their circumstances and do what they want to do.

Here’s an excerpt:


This makes sense to me, and is interesting, though I’m not sure how important this finding is in the broader world.

Based on my nineteen-year community organizing career, we always taught the Latin roots of the word “power,” which mean “the ability to act.” That definition obviously points to autonomy. Of course, in the political arena, many people can’t gain this kind of autonomy without first gaining influence through the use of political power, which we defined as either organized money or organized people.

The study is, though, I think, a reminder to those of us in the classroom about the importance of creating the conditions for student autonomy.

I’ve written about this before:

The Power of Choice, where I discussed a report titled “Power and Choice Are Interchangeable: It’s All About Controlling Your Life.”

Choice Equals Power: How to Motivate Students to Learn, which is a quasi-interview with me that appeared in MindShift.

The Best Posts & Articles About Providing Students With Choices

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