Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

May 19, 2018
by Larry Ferlazzo

Research Studies Of The Week

'magnifying glass' photo (c) 2005, Tall Chris - license:

I often write about research studies from various fields and how they can be applied to the classroom. I write individual posts about ones that I think are especially significant, and will continue to do so. However, so many studies are published that it’s hard to keep up. So I’ve started writing a “round-up” of some of them each week or every other week as a regular feature.

By the way, you might also be interested in My Best Posts On New Research Studies In 2017 – Part Two.

Here are some new useful studies (and related resources):

Starting to think about tracking is from Teaching With Problems. It’s not a new study. However, it’s a good summary of the existing research. I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Learning About Ability Grouping & Tracking — Help Me Find More.

Learning by teaching others is extremely effective – a new study tested a key reason why is from Research Digest. I’m adding it to The Best Posts On Helping Students Teach Their Classmates — Help Me Find More.

The Myth of ‘Learning Styles’ is from The Atlantic. I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Learning About The Issue Of “Learning Styles”

Big surprise, eh? Students Learn Less When They Sense Teacher Hostility is from Ed Week. I’m adding it to The Best Resources On The Importance Of Building Positive Relationships With Students.

May 15, 2018
by Larry Ferlazzo

Statistic Of The Day: We Teachers Continue To Spend A Lot Of Money Supporting Students


To the surprise of not a single teacher in the United States, the U.S. Department of Education finds that we spend a lot our own money on our students.

Education Week also wrote a nice article about the report: The Average Teacher Spends $479 a Year on Classroom Supplies, National Data Show

I’m adding this info to The Best Data On How Much Money Teachers Pay Out Of Their Own Pocket – What Do You Spend?

May 15, 2018
by Larry Ferlazzo

“How Income Affects The Brain” & What We Can Do About It

I published Another Study Finds Poverty’s Impact On “Cognitive Bandwidth” a few days ago, and it was a very popular post.

It discussed the most recent research reinforcing the finding that poverty can cause some unhelpful behaviors, and not the other way around. Similar research has also shown that some of what we might view as unreasonable actions by people in poverty, in fact, are very rational. You can find a lot more of that research at The Best Resources Showing Social Emotional Learning Isn’t Enough.

Today, The Atlantic came out with an article (“How Income Affects The Brain“) reviewing the same, as well as different, research. Here’s an excerpt:

It went on to say:

Or, as Zhao put it in 2013, “Previous views of poverty have blamed poverty on personal failings, or an environment that is not conducive to success … We’re arguing that the lack of financial resources itself can lead to impaired cognitive function. The very condition of not having enough can actually be a cause of poverty.”


None of this research means that we as teachers can’t do anything about it!

Here’s a paragraph from my Washington Post column, The Manipulation of Emotional Learning, which talked about this topic:

None of these concerns, however, mean that we shouldn’t help our students develop these SEL skills in ways that are healthy for them, for their families, for us and for our schools.   For example, in addition to the many related lessons I teach now,  my colleagues and I are developing  lessons that would help students become aware of some of that research explaining why they might be experiencing some of their self-control and perseverance challenges.  All too often, students tell me that they want to make changes in how they behave, and don’t know why they do some of the unhelpful things they do.  Of course, some of that confusion can probably be attributed to common adolescent challenges. But just-announced research findings for college students show that discussing these types of social and economic class issues resulted in dramatically increased academic achievement. 

I talk about some of these lessons in my most recent book on student motivation, Building A Community Of Self-Motivated Learners: Strategies To Help Students Thrive In School and Beyond, and will include more in my upcoming one next year.  You can also get additional ideas at The Best Resources About “Culturally Responsive Teaching” & “Culturally Sustaining Pedagogy” – Please Share More!

These lessons include ones about assisting students – and their families – to develop the capacity to organize and change social and political dynamics (see The Best Posts & Articles On Building Influence & Creating Change).

And We Need To Talk More About Schools As Mediating Institutions so that schools can be contributing forces towards making needed policy changes in the broader community.

And let’s not forget the role of our teachers unions in doing the same thing (see The Best Resources For Learning Why Teachers Unions Are Important).

Do you have other ideas about how we can respond to this kind of research?

May 14, 2018
by Larry Ferlazzo

This Is Nuts: Corporal Punishment Used On 100,000 Students

Ed Week reports on an unbelievable, but true, statistic in Nearly 100,000 K-12 Students Still Spanked or Paddled at School, Data Show.

You might also be interested in:

This Is Nuts: PBS News Hour & Ed Week Find 21 States Using Corporal Punishment In Schools

Schools, black children, and corporal punishment is from Brookings.

May 13, 2018
by Larry Ferlazzo

Does The “Word Gap” Really Exist?

“Word Gap” is the term used to describe the difference in vocabulary development of low-income children and middle-and-high-income children during their pre-school years.

It’s always sounded a bit fishy to me (and to others), but a lot of high-profile names have put a lot of resources into trying to respond to it (and in some bizarre ways).

I’ve compiled both the supporting and skeptical resources over at The Best Resources For Learning About The “Word Gap”  at my other blog, Engaging Parents In School.

This week, a new study was unveiled that appears to blow the original study that supposedly found this gap out of the water.  Here are tweets and links related to it:

May 13, 2018
by Larry Ferlazzo

Treasure Chest Of Immediately Applicable Motivation Strategies


I’ve previously shared much of Dan Ariely’s work on motivation, including his contribution to my Ed Week Teacher column. You can see them all at Best Posts On “Motivating” Students.

TED Talks just re-circulated an older post of theirs titled What motivates us at work? More than money.

It quickly summaries many of Dan’s studies. Even though the research is geared towards motivation at work, they are all applicable to the classroom, as well.

I think every teacher can benefit from a three minute perusal of the article.

May 12, 2018
by Larry Ferlazzo

Another Study Finds Poverty’s Impact On “Cognitive Bandwidth”


There has been an increasing amount of research documenting the impact poverty has on people’s psychology framework: that when some of our “cognitive bandwidth” is taken up by financial stress, less is left to devote to other decisions.   I’ve shared much of that research at The Best Resources Showing Social Emotional Learning Isn’t Enough.

How poverty changes your mind-set shares new research documenting poverty’s effect on people’s thinking.

And the PBS News Hour wrote up a summary of those same studies: Analysis: How poverty can drive down intelligence

Perhaps, eventually, this kind of research will move some people away from the “blaming the victim” mentality that seems to drive much of the public discussion about poverty in the U.S.

May 8, 2018
by Larry Ferlazzo

Statistic Of The Day: Teacher Decisions & Implicit Bias

There has been research on the number of decisions teachers have to make each day (see The Best Research On How Many Decisions A Teacher Makes Each Day).

The Hechinger Report just published an article related to that topic, but the important and unique twist to it is that the researcher discusses its relationship to implicit bias.

Check out 20 judgments a teacher makes in 1 minute and 28 seconds.

I’m also adding it to New & Revised: Resources To Help Us Predominantly White Teachers To Reflect On How Race Influences Our Work.

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