Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

July 9, 2013
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Two New Videos From RSA — Carol Dweck & Ken Robinson

RSA from The United Kingdom is particularly knows for their “graphic recording” of talks that take place there (the one they did of Dan Pink talking about “Drive” is my favorite).

They just released a short one of those animated videos, this one a short snippet of a talk by Ken Robinson. I’ve embedded it below — it’s nice, but to tell you the truth, I’m not sure there’s much “there there,” unlike in his other talks. Of course, it just two-and-a-half minutes long 🙂

Of more interest, though, is the non-animated video (also embedded below) that they put on the web of Carol Dweck’s talk there that took place….yesterday (they sure don’t waste time). It’s an hour-long, and it’s nice that they have close-ups of all her slides. I’ve just started watching it. So far, it sounds like a basic review of her work. Even if that is just the case, it’s still interesting!

I’m adding that video to The Best Resources On Helping Our Students Develop A “Growth Mindset.”

June 20, 2013
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Interesting New Study By Carol Dweck

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Readers of this blog are no strangers to the work of Carol Dweck, and you can find a collection of resources related to her work at The Best Resources On Helping Our Students Develop A “Growth Mindset.”

Professor Dweck and her colleagues have just published a new study that builds on her previous work and specifically relates it to reducing aggressive behavior by teenagers. Happily, the paper is not behind a paywall. It’s title is a long one — An Implicit Theories of Personality Intervention Reduces Adolescent Aggression in Response to Victimization and Exclusion.

You can also read a short summary of it by Art Markman.

Here is my brief summary (which I am very open to being critiqued and corrected) and my key “take-aways”:

Professor Dweck is known for, among other findings, developing the concepts of incremental mindset — that people’s traits can change over time — and an entity mindset — where traits are fixed. Many educators, including me, have used her research in the classroom in changing the kind of feedback we give students and in helping them see the physical changes caused in the brain by learning new things (my previously mentioned “The Best…” list give far more details).

In this new study (which focused on dealing with the effects of bullying), Professor Dweck and her colleagues taught six brief sessions to students elaborating on the incremental mindset, and found that they were less likely to react aggressively to bullying and, in general, behaved more appropriately in the classroom. They appeared to believe that neither the supposed reason behind their being targeted and the beliefs of the bullies themselves would be permanent, and tended to be less depressed. Here are some key excerpts:

…our results suggest that an incremental theory may predispose students to behave resiliently when situations of exclusion or victimization arise….

Our findings can inform theories of how social cognitive development can influence adolescent aggression. Past research has suggested that adolescents show an increased belief in the fixed nature of transgressors’ traits and behaviors (e.g., Killen et al., 2010). Relatedly, the early years of high school are a time of heighted social comparison, where one’s social label (especially if it is seen as a fixed label) can be a source of pride or shame, and therefore a powerful influence on how one copes with peer conflict (e.g., Brown, Mory, & Kinney, 1994; Crosnoe, 2011; Eccles & Barber, 1999). Overall, adolescence was predicted to be a special period during which beliefs about the potential for people to change their personal characteristics could play a particularly important role in aggressive retaliation….

Peer victimization or exclusion, as we have noted, can also lead to depression and other internalizing symptoms, and previous correlational research has suggested that this is especially likely when children hold more of an entity theory (Rudolph, 2010). Our experimental study showed that an incremental theory intervention could buffer adolescents from the effects of peer victimization. When adolescents who reported higher levels of victimization were taught to see themselves and others as capable of change, they reported fewer depressive symptoms compared with adolescents who received no treatment.

That’s what the study says about victims. I found what it says about the bullies themselves even more interesting:

One extension of this research is to test whether implicit theories might also be a cause of bullying itself. It may be the case that some students bully others to validate themselves and their status, a motivation that may well be fostered by an entity view of the self. Indeed, adolescents who believe that there are fixed “winners” and “losers” may well wish to place themselves among the “winners” and use bullying as a tool for doing so. Thus, it may be interesting in future investigations to determine whether the present study’s incremental theory intervention would reduce bullying.

One nice “bonus” is that the paper provides a fairly detailed description of the curriculum used to teach the incremental mindset.

For my work in the classroom, the bottom line of the study is that it reinforces the importance of teaching the lessons found on The Best Resources On Helping Our Students Develop A “Growth Mindset” list, and exploring how I can expand them a bit by reflecting on the ideas in this paper.

I’m eager to hear the reactions of others….

November 9, 2012
by Larry Ferlazzo
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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?

January 18, 2017
by Larry Ferlazzo
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A Look Back: “Zootopia Movies Highlights Importance Of Grit, But Also Its Limitations”

In February, this blog will be celebrating its ten-year anniversary! Leading up to it, I’m re-starting a series I tried to do in the past called “A Look Back.” Each week, I’ll be re-posting a few of my favorite posts from the past ten years.

You might also be interested in:

 A Look Back: Best Posts From 2007 To 2009 

 A Look Back: 2010’s Best Posts From This Blog

A Look Back: 2011’s Best Posts From This Blog

A Look Back: 2012’s Best Posts From This Blog

A Look Back: 2013’s Best Posts From This Blog

A Look Back: 2014’s Best Posts From This Blog

A Look Back: 2015’s Best Posts From This Blog

This post was originally published in 2016:

I just came back from taking my grandkids to see the new Disney movie “Zootopia.”

Though I agree with other reviewers who say the movie’s message on race and prejudice is a bit muddled, I also have to say that I think it provides an excellent perspective on “grit.”

At the beginning, he movie’s star, Judy the rabbit,  exemplifies the sterotypical belief in grit – she will try, try, try and succeed, and won’t let anything stop her. As the film goes on, however, she finds that her individual grit isn’t enough — she has to deal with additional challenges she faces from the attitudes and prejudices of society at large, and needs advice and assistance from others to ultimately succeed.

This story reflects what I wrote in my Education Week Teacher column titled ‘It’s Time to Change the Conversation About Grit’:

researchers David Yeager, Gregory Walton and Geoffrey L. Cohen have defined [it] as “the fuller formula for success: effort + strategies + help from others.”

The movie’s message is particularly timely in light of very recent cautions from Carol Dweck (Carol Dweck Makes Strongest Statement Yet On Growth Mindset Misuse) and Angela Duckworth (NY Times Reports On Social Emotional Learning Run Amok) about the dangers of viewing Social Emotional Learning as panaceas.

Even with those concerns, I have to admit I also did like the Shakira theme song for the movie, “Try Everything,” and see how that could be used as part of an SEL lesson.

Here are the lyrics to the song, along with four videos:

* The official music video to the movie

* A “lyrics video” of the song

* Two official trailers to the movie

You might also be interested in:

Video: “Better Call Saul” Scene Illustrates The Limitations Of Grit

The Best Video Clips Demonstrating “Grit” – Help Me Find More

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