Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

November 24, 2015
by Larry Ferlazzo

Study: Rudeness Spreads Like A Disease


I’ve written about lessons I do with students on rudeness (see The Best Ways To Deal With Rudeness In Class).

A new study has come to the not unsurprisingly conclusion that people tend to exhibit rudeness when they see or experience it modeled, even if it is not directed toward them.

Here’s an excerpt:


November 23, 2015
by Larry Ferlazzo

New Study Finds Academic Benefits To Social Emotional Learning

Impact of social-emotional learning on academic achievement is the Science Daily headline discussing a new study that finds Social Emotional Learning resulted in higher academic achievement for students in reading, writing and math.

Of course, there are a fair number of studies that have found the same results, and you can find them at The Best Social Emotional Learning (SEL) Resources.

But this one seems to stick out because it apparently was a randomized trial which, from what I read, is considered “the gold standard” in research. A lot of other studies use less rigorous methods.

Here’s an excerpt from the Science Daily article:


November 11, 2015
by Larry Ferlazzo

Great New Video: “When People Make Mistakes Their Brains Grow, More Than When They Got Work Right”


Jo Boaler, a math professor at Stanford, recently released this great video. Though it talks about math, it would be a good one to show to any class – it’s a good intro to Social Emotional Learning

I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Showing Students That They Make Their Brain Stronger By Learning.

November 11, 2015
by Larry Ferlazzo

Student Agency & How To Encourage It


I believe helping students develop “agency,” which is often defined as the ability to be pro-active in responding to your circumstances, is an important part of classroom – and life – success. Unfortunately, few include an important second part of the definition – recognizing that there could be outside limitations on a student’s pro-activity, and that omission can lead to what I call the “Let Them Eat Character!” element of Social Emotional Learning (see my Washington Post piece, The manipulation of Social Emotional Learning).

Nevertheless, there are a number of actions we can take in the classroom to help students deal with both parts of that definition.

Unfortunately, I’m not convinced that a big new report on “student agency” is going to be that much of a help to teachers and students who want to implement those kinds of actions. It comes from something call The Achievement Gap Initiative at Harvard, and it’s called The Influence of Teaching Beyond Standardized Test Scores: Engagement, Mindsets, and Agency. You can read more about it at Education Week and at the Boston Globe.

It’s based on 300,000 electronic student surveys and, though I’m a big advocate of teachers using personalized student surveys to inform instruction, I’m less convinced of their value on a broad scale. As we say in community organizing, a survey is only useful as a tool to initiate a personal conversation. Outside of an individual classroom context, I would be very hesitant to use them to generate conclusions about anything, no matter what the writers of this report or the people behind the flawed Gates MET Project say (see A Beginning List Of The Best Posts On Gates’ Final MET “Effective Teaching” Report).  The report justifies the use of the student surveys by citing their use by Gates.

I’m very open to hearing that I’m unfairly criticizing the report, but it also doesn’t seem to me to provide any useful recommendations to teachers beyond vague ideas.

My next book (out in March) will have a section on student agency and how teachers can encourage its development. I suspect that this particular section will appears somewhere as an excerpt. However, to get started now, here are a few links to more practical strategies that teachers can apply in the classroom to help students gain agency:

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

Goal-Setting (My Best Posts On Students Setting Goals)

Metacognition (My Best Posts On Metacognition)

Teaching Students About Their Brains (The Best Resources For Showing Students That They Make Their Brain Stronger By Learning)

Student Reflection (The Best Resources On Student & Teacher Reflection)

Students Teaching Others (The Best Posts On Helping Students Teach Their Classmates — Help Me Find More)

Encouraging Student Action on Justice Issues (The Best Teacher Resource Sites For Social Justice Issues)

Student Choice (The Best Posts & Articles About Providing Students With Choices)

Giving Appropriate Feedback (The Best Resources For Learning How To Best Give Feedback To Students)


November 7, 2015
by Larry Ferlazzo
1 Comment

Very Important New Report On Looking At ELLs Through A Lens Of Assets & Not Deficits

I’ve written a lot over the years, in my books and in many posts and articles, about the importance of looking at English Language Learners through the lens assets and not deficits, and what that looks like in the classroom.

A new report was published today by the Jobs For The Future “think tank” that has gone into greater detail about the importance of educators and policymakers having that kind of positive perspective.

The Implications of Deeper Learning for Adolescent Immigrants and English Language Learners
, written by Patricia Gándara is a must-read for all ELL teachers (and teachers-to-be – I’ll be having the pre-service students in the Sacramento State University class I teach read it next week).

I hear the term “deeper learning” a lot, have heard different definitions of it, and still don’t quite know what it truly means. But you don’t have to know, or even care, about its meaning to get a whole lot out of this report.

Here’s an excerpt:


November 2, 2015
by Larry Ferlazzo

New Study Suggests That A Classroom Motivational Poster Might Be Effective


There’s a lot of debate about what should be put on classroom’s walls (see Quote Of The Day: The Importance Of Displaying Student Work and The Best Posts On The Study Suggesting That Bare Classroom Walls Are Best For Learning).

I’ve also previously written about some studies that suggest certain encouraging signage can be useful during standardized tests, and have shared how I’ve applied those results (see My Best Posts On How To Prepare For Standardized Tests (And Why They’re Bad)).

And I have a lot of respect for UK educator and blogger Carl Hendrick, who is wary of putting motivational posters up (see The scourge of motivational posters and the problem with pop psychology in the classroom).

Now, a new study suggests that having signs reminding people of goals they have previously made commitments towards fulfilling can – unconsciously – have a positive impact on their motivation to continue pursuing them (see Need help with your goals? Eating better may simply mean following the signs).

To tell you the truth, based on the summary of the study, it’s a bit unclear to me how they can conclude that signs can help. And I can’t seem to find the full study. However, it does make sense to me that if people have spent some serious time goal-setting on a particular topic, then I can see how encouraging signs could be helpful. Vague motivating wordage, on the other hand, would seem to be a waste of space.

You might also be interested in My Best Posts On Students Setting Goals.

What do you think?

October 25, 2015
by Larry Ferlazzo

Statistic Of The Day: Are Most High School Students Not Engaged At School?

Our high school kids: tired, stressed and bored is the headline of an article at USA Today about the results of a new survey on student engagement.

The conclusions aren’t pretty, as this excerpt says:


The article says 22,000 students participated. However, apart from this article, I can’t find anything else out about the survey. So it’s unclear if it it was a scientifically done random one, or a self-selected “opt-in” process. That’s similar to Gallup’s questionable past surveys on student engagement (see Intriguing Gallup Student Poll Results, But Not Something I’d Quote A Lot).

I’m not saying that a majority of our students are super-enthusiastic about their high school experience. I’m just not convinced that it’s as bad as some of these surveys suggest.

I’m adding this post to The Best Posts & Articles On Student Engagement.