Unless you’re reading this post through some sort of snail-mail delivery method, you’re probably familiar with at least some of Larry Ferlazzo’s prolific work on the Internet. (Here’s his blog; here’s his column for EdWeek [scroll down to find my two cents].)
When I was preparing the lectures inside of Teaching with Articles, I knew that my own poverty of experience teaching English Language Learners was going to hinder the relevance of the professional development for folks who do teach large populations of ELLs. That’s why I reached out to Larry Ferlazzo, who teaches both ELL and advanced classes at Luther Burbank High School in Sacramento, CA. As you’ll hear in the interview below, Larry is thoroughly kind, fiercely intelligent, and deeply wise in a way only a long-time teacher could be.
Some highlights from the interview:
- One of Larry’s toughest moments as a teacher. (5:30) Larry also touches on when it’s okay to use extrinsic motivation (6:30), but what its limitations are. “No one wants to be a rat in the maze.”
- Larry’s ‘Aha,’ Gandhi-related moment, which I’ve written about before. (10:00) “The key to Gandhi’s success was that he looked at every problem as an opportunity, not as a pain in the butt.” (Again, I wrote about this recently.)
- What should teachers keep in mind when preparing lessons around articles for ELL students in the classroom? (13:00)
- “Good ELL teaching just is good teaching.” (13:20) Larry uses many of the same strategies with his International Baccalaureate students as with his ELL students. “I think it makes me a better IB teacher,” Larry says.
- Close reading. (18:50) Larry discusses how he uses Shanahan’s guidance on close reading.
- The “Wingman” strategy. (24:00) Two students discuss a text while a “wingman” takes notes.
- When should ELLs participate in whole-class discussions? (26:15)
- Larry’s quick list of tips for teaching ELL students. (28:35) Larry came prepared with more than we had time for; here’s a flyover of more great advice.
- Larry’s upcoming book. (30:50) “Which includes a lesson inspired by you,” Larry says, as my jaw drops to the desk.
Please use the embedded player below to listen to the mp3 interview. If it’s not working, you can find the mp3 here — download it at your pleasure. Enjoy!
Here are Larry’s eight (!) books:
- Navigating The Common Core With English Language Learners (with co-author Katie Hull Sypnieski);
- Building A Community Of Self-Motivated Learners: Strategies To Help Students Thrive in School and Beyond;
- Classroom Management Q&As: Expert Strategies for Teaching;
- Self-Driven Learning: Teaching Strategies For Student Motivation;
- The ESL/ELL Teacher’s Survival Guide (with co-author Katie Hull Sypnieski);
- Helping Students Motivate Themselves: Practical Answers To Classroom Challenges;
- English Language Learners: Teaching Strategies That Work;
- and Building Parent Engagement in Schools (with co-author Lorie Hammond).
Thank you to Larry Ferlazzo for his time in this interview, his kindness in including a bit of my work in his recent Navigating the Common Core with English Language Learners, and, most of all, for the helpful body of work he has created outside of his classroom all while remaining a classroom teacher.