Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

September 10, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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How Can A Parrot Help Students Develop Self-Control?

Previous readers of this blog and my blogs are familiar with much of my writing about helping students develop self-control, including lessons using the famous Marshmallow Test (see The Best Posts About Helping Students Develop Their Capacity For Self-Control). In fact, in about ten days you’ll be able to read at my Ed Week Teacher column an interview I recently did with Dr. Walter Mischel, originator of that experiment.

One of the key elements of any of my self-control lessons is highlighting the different techniques that children used to avoid eating the marshmallow (looking away, etc.) and how students can apply them in class. In that “The Best” list, you’ll be able to see a fun Sesame Street video where The Cookie Monster demonstrates those same successful strategies, and my high school students love watching it as a refresher later in the school year after we learn about the Marshmallow Experiment in September.

And this leads me to parrots….

Researchers have found that some parrots, unlike other non-human species, also have a capacity for self-control, and created a version of the Marshmallow Experiment for them. You can read more about it at a Slate article titled A Parrot Passes the Marshmallow Test.

It’s very interesting but, as far as I’m concerned, the most useful part of the article is this short video. I plan showing it to students later in the year as another fun “refresher” — students can watch and identify the strategies used by the children and the parrot to reinforce their self-control.

I’m adding this info to my Best list on self-control.

August 26, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Two Of The Most Student Accessible Articles I’ve Seen On Self-Control

I’ve written a lot — both on this blog and in my books — on strategies to help students motivate themselves to develop self-control.

Here are two of the most accessible, if not THE most accessible, pieces I’ve seen for students to read on the topic (both are from Fast Company):

6 SCIENTIFICALLY PROVEN WAYS TO BOOST YOUR SELF-CONTROL

5 QUICK TRICKS TO BOOST YOUR WILLPOWER

I’m adding both to The Best Posts About Helping Students Develop Their Capacity For Self-Control.

July 9, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Video: Donald Duck On Self-Control

I’ve previously shared the videos Sesame Street has done this year promoting the virtue of self-control. They’re pretty creative and entertaining.

I just learned that Walt Disney apparently had similar ideas in 1938, and put out this cartoon of Donald Duck teaching and learning about self-control — in his own unique way:

July 3, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Can You Help? Looking For Stories Of People Learning Self-Control Or Grit From Challenging Circumstances

Regular readers know I’m a big believer in teaching Social Emotional Learning (see The Best Social Emotional Learning (SEL) Resources) and that I also have a healthy skepticism of how it’s sometimes used (see The manipulation of Social Emotional Learning).

Readers also know that I have a particular interest in focusing on the assets students bring to the table rather than their deficits (see Get Organized Around Assets and A Lesson Highlighting Community Assets — Not Deficits).

I’m preparing a new lesson that I’m going to try-out in the fall, and student assets are going to be a key part of it. Of course, I’ll be writing more about it…

I’m looking for stories of students/adults sharing particular instances when growing-up in challenging circumstances helped them develop grit (perseverance) and/or self-control.

These could be passages from books, articles,movies, videos, stories your own students have written, etc.

Any ideas?

April 17, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Study: Gratitude Increases Self-Control

'PATIENCE' photo (c) 2009, Gemma Bardsley - license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

I’ve written in the past about my use of “Reflection Cards” in the classroom, including the research behind them (you can download a copy of the card and read the research at my post, Giving Students “Reflection Cards.”

Research shows that self-control can be replenished by both self-affirmation exercises and by remembering better times.

So, I created cards that I sometimes give to students when they are having behavior issues in the classroom to complete outside and come back in after they’re done. The cards just take a couple of minutes to complete and include these instructions:

1. Please write at least three sentences about a time (or times) you have felt successful and happy:

2. Please write at least three sentences about something that is important to you (friends, family, sports, etc.) and why it’s important:

They’ve worked pretty effectively.

Now, new research written about in the Harvard Business Reviews suggests that having people write what they are grateful for can also increase patience. You can read about their experiments in the short article, Gratitude Is the New Willpower.

Here’s an excerpt:

Those-whod-described

I guess it’s time to add another instruction to the card (this is what the researchers had participants do):

Briefly write about an event from your past that made you feel grateful:

I’m adding this post to to lists:

The Best Posts About Helping Students Develop Their Capacity For Self-Control

The Best Resources On “Gratitude”

February 14, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Some Very Interesting Info On Self-Control Research

'Marshmallow Nightmares!!' photo (c) 2010, Kate Ter Haar - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

I’ve written a lot about helping students learn about self-control (see The Best Posts About Helping Students Develop Their Capacity For Self-Control).

Walter Mischel’s famous marshmallow experiment obviously plays a role in that work. I also wrote about a recent study (see Marshmallows and Trust) that raised a question about if that experiment truly measured self-control, or if it really measured the children’s trust in the researcher — would he/she really return with a second marshmallow. I and others thought that was intriguing, though also thought it was far too soon to jump to any conclusions.

Nevertheless, it raises — again — the issue that Social Emotional Learning is not enough, and that, in addition to teaching SEL skills, attacking some of the potential root causes studies have found for SEL challenges facing many low-income people must also be made a priority in our society (see The Best Articles About The Study Showing Social Emotional Learning Isn’t Enough).

I was prompted to write this post after seeing a tweet from Kevin Washburn, who’s at the Learning and the Brain Conference in San Francisco this week. He was reporting on what sounded to be a great talk by Kelly McGonigal there, including pointing out (I assume based on this recent study) that having a caring teacher is likely to promote self-control. In other words, if trust does indeed play a key role in self-regulation, students feeling that they can trust the teacher is likely to increase the odds of students developing it.

I hadn’t made that obvious connection to that “trust” finding, and thought it was worth sharing — not that we educators don’t have enough other reasons to encourage students to trust us!

I also thought Kevin tweeted out some other useful information, and embedded them below. I also am using this opportunity to try out TweetDeck’s new “custom timeline” feature, and will be comparing it to Storify, which is the tool I usually use to curate tweets.

Speaking of the Learning and The Brain conference, I’ll be there on Friday and Saturday leading workshops, so posts at this blog will be fairly minimal over the next day or two..


September 5, 2013
by Larry Ferlazzo
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These May Be Some Of The Most Important Passages About Self-Control That I’ve Ever Read

'Self-control (fruit of the Spirit)' photo (c) 2012, Sarah Joy - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

It’s no surprise to readers here that I’m a big believer is helping students develop self-control (see The Best Posts About Helping Students Develop Their Capacity For Self-Control) done in the context of helping students develop intrinsic motivation in a student-centered classroom. My posts, my practice, and my books reflect that perspective.

I’ve also been very critical of those who — in the name of “character education” — would twist the idea of using the idea of self-control into a harmful class discipline strategy (see my Washington Post column, “Why schools should not grade character traits.”

It’s this kind of misuse, I think, which generates over-the-top diatribes against teaching self-control like the one that appeared in The New Republic this week (American Schools Are Failing Nonconformist Kids. Here’s How In defense of the wild child).

Fortunately, Sarah D. Sparks over at Education Week, as she is prone to do, has unearthed some new research and insightful analysis to bring important clarity to a controversial issue.

In her new post, Is Self-Regulation Lost in Translation?, Sarah shares the yet unpublished research of Joanne Wang Golan, who studied character education at a “no excuses school” that sounds like a KIPP or KIPP-like institution. Here’s an excerpt:

During months of observations, Golann found “self-control was the topic I heard most about: The teachers talked about self-control, the students talked about self-control.”

In practice, though, Golann found “self-control” was primarily taught through classroom discipline practices, involving many detailed rules and rapidly increasing sanctions for breaking them.

She recalled one 5th grade student, “Darren,” who explained his view of it this way: “Self-control is when you’re able to talk, when you know to talk at the appropriate time. And it’s important because you can get a really bad consequence, and I do, I really show self-control, because I don’t talk at all in class. When the teacher tells me to talk in class, I do, to answer a question, and otherwise I don’t talk at all in class.”

Overall, Golann found the school’s approach to teaching social-emotional skills led to orderly classrooms and students with good study and work habits associated with high self-regulation—but not the sort of autonomy, self-motivation, and goal-setting also associated with self-regulation and grit.

In other words, they taught the words, but not the music….