Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

November 9, 2012
by Larry Ferlazzo

New Study Finds That Specific Praise Improves Performance — Have They Ever Heard Of Carol Dweck?

A new study has been receiving some media attention for showing that praising someone’s athletic performance results in….their improving their performance. Interestingly, even though it’s clear in the study that the praise is very specific about what was being done, the researchers don’t seem to even highlight that point — they just say that praising someone is successful.

Of course, any research that reinforces what we teachers know is good practice is welcome, but, really, haven’t these folks ever heard of Carol Dweck?

It’s good to know about this new research, but I don’t think it’s even worth putting on The Best Resources For Learning How To Best Give Feedback To Students.

November 27, 2011
by Larry Ferlazzo
1 Comment

Thoughts On Today’s NY Times Column By Carol Dweck

I’m a fan of much of Professor Carol Dweck’s work, and have often written in this blog (and in my book) about how I’ve applied her research in the classroom, especially around praising effort instead of intelligence.

A few months ago, though, I heard about one of her recent research projects that bothered me a bit, and, then, today, I saw a column she co-wrote about it in The New York Times. It’s titled “Willpower: It’s in Your Head.”

In it, she challenges the research findings of Professor Roy F. Baumeister, another researcher whose work has influenced my teaching practice. Professor Baumeister has written a great deal about self-control, and I wrote a piece in Education Week about how I apply his findings in the classroom — he also contributed a guest commentary.

Basically, Professor Baumeister (and many others) have concluded that self-control is a resource that can be depleted, and needs to be periodically replenished. Professor Dweck claims that it only is depleted if you believe it needs to be replenished.

That’s a very simplified summary, and I’d encourage you to read both her piece and Professor Baumeister’s commentary to get a more amplified view, as well as learning more how I interpret it for classroom use.

I’m all for having a “growth mindset,” which is another concept that Professor Dweck is known for and which I use with my students. However, especially with adolescents, it seems to me that we need to recognize that our students are not Supermen or Superwomen, and it’s unlikely that many — if any — have an unlimited level of self-control. My students and I have found Professor Baumeister’s research very useful and I have often seen it work effectively.  The key, of course, is that we need to help our students develop effective strategies to replenish their capacity for self-control.

Earlier this morning, I contacted Professor Baumeister to get his reactions to the critique. Here is his response (and he granted permission for me to share it here):

[Many] things can make a difference right at the beginning of depletion, when you’re only slightly depleted. we have replicated her finding that getting people to believe in unlimited willpower makes them do better when they are slightly depleted. but that same manipulation actually makes them do worse when they are severely depleted.

What do you think?

July 22, 2015
by Larry Ferlazzo

SEL Weekly Update

I’ve recently begun this weekly post where I’ll be sharing resources I’m adding to The Best Social Emotional Learning (SEL) Resources or other related “Best” lists:

Carol Dweck and Growth Mindset is a well-done and interesting thirty minute BBC interview with Carol Dweck and her associates. I’m adding it to The Best Resources On Helping Our Students Develop A “Growth Mindset.”

Why a ‘Growth Mindset’ Won’t Work is a very good column by Peter DeWitt. I’m adding it to the same list.

I think this next article is also very good, and am adding the tweet to the same list:

I’m also adding this next tweet to the same list:

July 2, 2015
by Larry Ferlazzo

Guest Post: Growth Mindset Memes

I’ve invited Laura Gibbs to contribute this guest post about a creative project she’s doing and inviting others to join, too. I’m adding this post to The Best Resources On Helping Our Students Develop A “Growth Mindset.”

Laura Gibbs is an online instructor who teaches mythology and folklore at the University of Oklahoma; find out more at

Growth mindset: this a term familiar to many teachers, but it’s even more important for students to learn what the growth mindset can mean for them. You can tell students about Carol Dweck’s research that shows how learning results from effort over time, not simply from “brains” or raw talent. You can provide details about neurobiology, and you can talk about potential, persistence, and other abstract notions. But how can you really reach students, especially younger students, with these ideas? Here’s a possibility: growth mindset memes!

By combining text and images, memes are able to make a powerful impression, often conveying complex ideas in just a few words. The brevity of memes makes them a great option for student composition, and free online tools like Cheezburger and Automotivator (to name just two) make it easy for everyone — students and teachers alike — to create memes and share them on the Internet.

So, after a great presentation on growth mindset by Laura Slade at the Upgrading Online conference on June 24, 2015, I decided to create a blog where I could publish and collect growth mindset memes while also inviting others to share and contribute. You can see the blog here: Growth Mindset Memes.

Another teacher has joined in, too: Susan Strickland has started her own Cheezburger Board of Latin LOLCat memes to promote the growth mindset with her Latin students.

We hope that others will want to contribute either by creating your own blog of growth mindset memes, or perhaps a Cheezburger Board like the one by Magistra Susan — or even just by sharing your memes with the #growthmindset hashtag at Twitter. There are lots of possibilities; here are some ideas about How to Contribute.

And to give you an idea of what the memes can do, see what you think of these LOLCats with a growth mindset (made with Cheezburger):

I love a challenge!


The bigger the challenge, the more you stretch.


You can even make animated gifs for multilingual memes like this Spanish-Latin-English LOLcat (animation done with GIMP):

Si puedes soñarlo, puedes hacerlo.
Si potes somniare, facere potes.
If you can dream it, you can do it.


Any type of meme can work, of course — it’s not just about cats. For example, here are some motivational poster memes (made with Automotivator):

They wouldn’t make erasers if we didn’t make mistakes.


Fall down seven times, get up eight.


So, if you are a teacher with an interest in growth mindset (and it’s valuable for teachers of all subjects at all ages), see what kinds of memes you can invent, and then set your memes in motion by sharing them online. To learn more about growth mindset and what it can offer both students and teachers, be sure to check out Carol Dweck’s book, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, and you can also follow the #growthmindset hashtag at Twitter.

June 26, 2015
by Larry Ferlazzo

June’s Top Posts From This Blog


I regularly highlight my picks for the most useful posts for each month — not including “The Best…” lists. I also use some of them in a more extensive monthly newsletter I send-out. You can see older Best Posts of the Month at Websites Of The Month (more recent lists can be found here).

You can also see my all-time favorites here.

Here are some of the posts I personally think are the best, and most helpful, ones I’ve written during this past month (not in any order of preference):

“Ways To Find The ‘Right Balance’ Between School & Home”

A Milestone Of Sorts: There Are Now Exactly 1,450 Categorized & Regularly Updated “Best” Lists!

Quote Of The Day: A Corollary To The Best Piece Of Classroom Management Advice I’ve Heard

Jigsaw Puzzles As A Language-Learning Activity

Quote Of The Day: Carol Dweck On “Nagging”

“Avoiding ‘Trust Busters’ When Making Change In Schools”

Some #CharlestonSyllabus Highlights

Study: Inductive Learning Promotes “Transfer Of Knowledge” Better Than Direct Instruction

All My BAM Radio Shows – Linked With Descriptions

A Perfect Quote To Begin A Lesson On Deliberate Practice – If Your Students Are Basketball Fans

“Control Your Destiny”: Positive Self-Talk, Students & Stephen Curry

Questions To Help With Positive Classroom Management

“Ways To Encourage Support For English Language Learners”

“Jellybean Scoop” Looks Like A Useful Reading/Writing Site For Students & Teachers

“Don’t Leave English Language Learners ‘In The Cold’”

Study: “Authoritative,” Not “Authoritarian,” Classroom Management Works Best For Boys

“It’s Been A Pleasure Having You In Class This Year”

“Teachers: What we want everyone to know about working in our high-needs school”

How Can We Help Students Feel That Theory Of Knowledge Class Is More Relevant To Their Lives

Teaching Knowledge Questions In IB Theory Of Knowledge

“Ways To Help Students Develop Digital Portfolios”

Skype Opens Up Web Version To Everyone

“Cash” For Good Student Behavior – Without An Exit Strategy – Is Not The Best Classroom Management System

Nevada Legislature Goes To Crazytown With New Voucher Law

Khan Academy & College Board Announce New Free SAT Prep

“Our World Of Data” Is A Treasure Trove Of Infographics

“Teachers ‘Seek Relevance & Choice’ In Professional Development”

Here’s How My ELL Beginner/Intermediate Class Evaluated Me

Useful Collection Of “Growth Mindset” Animations

Here Are The Results Of Anonymous Class Evaluations From My English Language Learner History Class

If You Haven’t Read It Already, “The Teaching & Learning Toolkit” Should Probably Be On Your Summer Reading List

“Follow-Up Is Critical For Successful Professional Development”

Did The NY Times Just Demonstrate The Next Generation Of Infographics?

Google’s New “Expeditions” Looks Like An Insanely Cool Way For Students To Take A Virtual Field Trip

June 20, 2015
by Larry Ferlazzo

New & Useful “Growth Mindset” Resources

There was a conference in the UK yesterday which featured Carol Dweck. It sounds like she made some interesting points, particularly around what she called a “False Growth Mindset.” Here are some reports on that talk, along with other resources. I’m adding all of them to The Best Resources On Helping Our Students Develop A “Growth Mindset”:

Why the ‘false growth mindset’ explains so much is from The Learning Spy.

The Mindset Journey is from Drowning in the Shallow.

June 5, 2015
by Larry Ferlazzo

The Best Videos For Educators In 2015 – So Far


Another day, another annual mid-year “Best” list (you can find all 1,400 Best lists here).

You might also be interested in:

The Best Videos For Educators In 2014 – Part Two

The Best Videos For Educators In 2014 – So Far

The “All-Time” Best Videos For Educators

The Best Videos For Educators In 2013 – Part Two

The Best Videos For Educators In 2012 — Part Two

The Best Videos For Educators In 2012 — Part One

The Best Videos For Educators In 2011

Part Two Of The Best Videos For Educators — 2010

The Ten Best Videos For Educators — 2010

And you might also want to see The Best Funny Videos Showing The Importance Of Being Bilingual — Part OneThe Best Videos Illustrating Qualities Of A Successful Language LearnerThe Best Video Clips Demonstrating “Grit”; and The Best Fun Videos About Books & Reading.

You might also want to check out The Best Video Collections For Educators ; The Best Video Clips On Goal-Setting — Help Me Find More ; The Best Movie Scenes, Stories, & Quotations About “Transfer Of Learning” – Help Me Find More! ;  The Best Funny Videos To Help Teach Grammar – Help Me Find More ; The Best Videos About The Famous “Trolley Problem” and The Best Videos For Teaching & Learning About Figurative Language.

Here are my choices for The Best Videos For Educators In 2015 – So Far (some may have been produced prior to this year, but are just new to me):

Here’s a video and article about turning a Van Gogh painting to 3D. I think it would be useful in a Theory of Knowledge discussion of perception and art…:

Here’s a great one on a “Growth Mindset,” which I’ve added to The Best Resources On Helping Our Students Develop A “Growth Mindset”:

Vox shared this very useful video. I’m adding it to A Collection Of Useful Posts, Articles & Videos On Race & Racism – Help Me Find More.

John Spencer shared this great video on Twitter.

In addition to just being fun to watch, English Language Learners could watch it and then describe what they saw happening….:

Learning about Plato’s Allegory of the Cave is a key lesson in most IB Theory of Knowledge courses, and I’ve also been able to integrate it into my English Language Learner classes, too.

You can see many of the resources I use in the classroom, including student-made videos of modern parable versions, at our class blog.

Today, TED-Ed released a lesson and accompanying video that will be a nice addition.

John Lewis was interviewed by Jon Stewart on The Daily Show. Here’s the extended interview (there may be something wrong with the show’s embed code. If you can’t see it here, go directly to the Daily Show site):

I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Teaching About Selma.

I’ve previously shared about a group called PERTS from Stanford, which is working on growth mindset and other SEL issues.

They’ve now published short videos on topics that would be useful in the classroom, and have a site that they are expanding to helped interested educators connect. In addition, that same site has good resources on helping students learn from mistakes and providing students effective feedback.

Here is just one of the videos on the site. I know I’ll be using a number of their resources in my classroom:

I’ve previously written posts about Dan Pink’s great National Geographic series, Crowd Control.

You can now watch forty-one short clips from the show on National Geographic’s YouTube Channel.

Here’s one sample:

They’re excellent for use in many lessons, particularly for IB Theory of Knowledge when we study human sciences.

I’ve previously posted about studies showing that physical movement can help second (or third) language learning (you can see those posts at The Best Resources On Students Using Gestures & Physical Movement To Help With Learning).

Here’s a video on that research:

The question, “Was Mathematics invented or discovered?” is discussed in almost every IB Theory of Knowledge class.

I’ve previously posted about a a TED-Ed video on this topic that I didn’t think was a very good one.

The World Science Festival has just published a much better video responding to this question, and which I’ll definitely be using in class:

This video from The SciShow on YouTube is about the Nobel Prize for medicine given to the developer of the lobotomy.

It’s of particular interest to me since my Uncle was one of a number of immigrant children from low-income families who were diagnosed with so-called behavior disorders and lobotomized. This practice took place in the 1940’s. He was institutionalized for the rest of his life following the procedure. I have vivid memories of his visits to us — from the moment he entered our home he was always looking at his watch concerned about getting back to the hospital on time.

Here’s an intriguing video from BuzzFeed. Thanks to Open Culture for the tip:

I’m adding this video to The Best Videos Illustrating Qualities Of A Successful Language Learner.

It definitely demonstrates perseverance…

Neil deGrasse Tyson explains the meaning of life to a six-year-old:

Three years ago, the PBS News Hour did an excellent segment on self-control (I originally posted about it at Here’s A Video On Self-Control I’m Showing My Students First Thing Next Week).

They recently did another very good one, focusing on the Marshmallow Test – you can see the transcript here.

My only critique of it is a line that is always infuriating to me when people talk about charter schools. The segment mentions that the KIPP school students are selected by lottery and suggests that makes them comparable to students in other public schools. However, it doesn’t mention the fact that families who are particularly invested in their children’s education are ones who would go through the effort of registering and participating in a lottery, which makes blanket comparisons to students in other schools invalid. Of course, I also have other concerns about KIPP’s “character education” program.

Nevertheless, it’s a very good segment that I’ll be showing in class. I’m adding this post to The Best Posts About Helping Students Develop Their Capacity For Self-Control.

There’s a great CBS News video of college football star Malcolm Mitchell’s love reading on The Best Videos For Educators In 2014 – Part Two list (you can also find it at The Best Videos & Articles Where Athletes Explain How Reading & Writing Well Has Helped Their Career).

Then I found a second video sharing his story at Jackie Gerstein’s “Best” list of videos.

Check it out:

I’ve previously shared Sesame Street videos that have been emphasizing Social Emotional Learning Skills like self-control, and you can see them all at The Best Posts About Helping Students Develop Their Capacity For Self-Control (of course, earlier this week Cookie Monster also decided he was tired of delaying self-gratification).

They published a new one that models a classic self-control strategy:

Professor and researcher Carol Dweck gave a TEDx Talk shared by TED titled “The power of believing that you can improve.

I’ve embedded it below, but you can also see it on the TED site at the previous link. That site also has a written transcript of her comments.

Here’s an excerpt:


I was also struck by this passage:

“…we can actually change students’ mindsets. In one study, we taught them that every time they push out of their comfort zone to learn something new and difficult, the neurons in their brain can form new, stronger connections, and over time they can get smarter. Look what happened: in this study, students who were not taught this growth mindset continued to show declining grades over this difficult school transition, but those who were taught this lesson showed a sharp rebound in their grades.”

That’s certainly been our experience after teacher Dweck-inspired lessons you can find at The Best Resources For Showing Students That They Make Their Brain Stronger By Learning.

Daniel Coyle shared this video on Twitter. I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Showing Students That They Make Their Brain Stronger By Learning:

Bob Greenberg, who has created an extraordinary collections of short video talks by educators from around the world (see Brainwaves Video Anthology Is A Great Collection Of Short Videos Of & For Educators), came to our school and videotaped me talking about how to help student motivate themselves.

Though I talked for longer than I had planned (the video lasts twelve minutes), I think it came out pretty well and people might find it useful.

And, of course, check out all of the other videos in Bob’s collection.