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Resources to help you avoid reinventing the wheel

PLEASE NOTE:

This page is under construction

 
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The PERTS mission is to create evidence-based, free programs and resources for empowering educators to elevate student engagement, student voice, and educational equity. They revolutionized education research by developing the technology to support large-scale randomized controlled trials using the internet. This allowed schools and colleges anywhere in the United States to participate in rigorous research to test programs that are now available for free.

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Founded by researcher Angela Duckworth, and educators Dave Levin and Dominic Randolph, they, "...connects researchers with educators to create greater knowledge about the conditions that lead to social, emotional, academic, and physical well-being for young people throughout the country.” They make fantastic resources and their Educator Summit, hosted in collaboration with Relay/GSE, is excellent. If you get the chance, go!

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CASEL (Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning) defined social and emotional learning (SEL) over two decades ago and continues to lead the way in synthesizing research and advancing policy and practice. Lots of resources, research synthesis, and toolkits like this one: Advancing SEL to Create Supportive Learning Environments

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The BELE library––a product of the Building Equitable Learning Environments (BELE) Network––is, "an evolving repository for resources and recommendations can empower educators, parents, and policymakers to create more equitable and empowering learning opportunities for all students.” Awesome, but consider yourself warned: It's a rabbit hole.

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TNTP provides consulting for public school partners to help them reach their goals. They focus on three priorities: rigorous academics, talented people, and supportive environments. Their services include strategic planning, design, data collection and analysis, and implementation. They have many excellent publications and toolkits for educators, policymakers, and families.

About this Page

 

This resource library is a home for my ever-evolving list of organizations, resources, and topics I find I’m regularly sharing with colleagues and clients. The layout is simple for now, and some text is borrowed from writing I’ve published elsewhere.

Psychology Focused

Most content is focused on evidence-based factors that influence academic engagement, motivation and equity.

Not Comprehensive or Exhaustive

The field is vast and rapidly advancing with new research being published almost daily. There are also many frameworks for thinking about how social, emotional learning and developmental (SEL/SED) constructs hang together, many of which have their own associated resources. 

 

Feedback Welcome!

This is a new adventure so I'd love to hear your comments and suggestions. 
 

Organizations with Awesome Resources

All of these non-profits are devoted to bridging research and practice and create excellent resources. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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NSRF creates excellent resources, called protocols, and provides training on using these protocols, called Critical Friends Group work. Their resources and training help educators build solution-focused professional learning communities grounded in trust. Their protocols support building psychological safety and inclusivity in teacher PLCs and are also great for working with students. I think it's one of the best process-oriented professional development training programs available. 

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EL offers whole-school design, educator development, and they've developed research-based curricula for ELA and other topics grounded in SEL and project-based learning. Their video library is amazing. If the Oscars had an education category (which they should), Austin's Butterfly deserves to win one.

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Formerly known as Mindset Scholars Network, Student Experience Research Network (SERN) advances the research, relationships, and capacity necessary to build an education system in which every student experiences respect as a valued person and thinker. Their research-focused resources including compendiums, datasets, a searchable research library, and a video library of researchers and practitioners talking about their work. The SERN team are expert cat-herders.

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Transcend works with education communities to create and spread practices that build equitable learning environments. Lots of great free resources like their Design for Learning toolkit. They also provide services to support implementation.

Equity Focused SEL 

Below are resources I compiled for City Year to support their efforts to deepen their focus on equity with empathy-building activities and participatory action research. See the full City Year Case Study to learn more.

Relevant Resources

  • TOOLKIT (Transcend): Designing for Learning A variety of resources for putting insights from research into practice.

 

Trust 

Trust is the foundation for interpersonal relationships, well-functioning organizations, and for a healthy democracy. Stanford University political historian, David Kennedy, gave a talk in September 2020 in which he shared longitudinal data showing significant declines in: public trust in government overall and in the three branches of government; trust in news media; trust in religious institutions; and most troubling of all, trust in other people, which is now at an all-time low among millennials. We need look no further than the unprecedented divisiveness of this year’s presidential election and the insurrection of January 6th, 2021 to see the polarizing, corrosive impact this is having on our democratic institutions. Given the magnitude of the racial, economic and environmental injustices that can no longer be ignored, this loss of trust is deeply concerning. We greatly need public trust in democratic processes and institutions so that we can mobilize collective action to address these challenges. Trust within school systems has also been shown to impact school performance and student outcomes (Bryk & Schneider, 2002) and therefore, may also be worth measuring.   

 

Relevant Resources

  • VIDEO (Stanford Alumni Association): The History of the American Presidency (September 17, 2020) Stanford historian, Professor David Kennedy, explores the parallel evolutionary pathways of the presidency as an institution and the character of American society. (58 min)

 

 

  • SURVEY TOOL (PERTS - available fall 2021): PERTS is developing new measures of school-level trust to go along with their other free, data-driven professional learning programs. These programs help educators systematically and equitably improve academic and social-emotional learning. School climate measures will assess two dimensions: 1) Supportive Leadership (i.e., my school leader demonstrated care for the welfare of the faculty members at this school), and 2) Collaborative Work Environment (i.e., I had the opportunity to collaborate with other teachers in my school). To learn more visit, PERTS Resources. 

 

Structural Factors Contributing to the Opportunity Gap  

Educators need to develop their awareness of the ways in which school environments, policies and educators’ actions can replicate unequal access to opportunities, structural racism, or implicit bias. This awareness could provide them with more context for understanding students' academic and motivational challenges. For example, a student may be disengaged or even hostile towards school and educators if they have received messages that adults in the school have lower expectations or less favorable views of them compared to students in other groups. Some signals that students may be sensitive to include: being overpraised for less rigorous work (Brummelman et al., 2014); seeing their group underrepresented in more rigorous classes and overrepresented in groups targeted for intervention support (Putnam, 2015; Venezia & Kirst, 2005); or seeing members of their group disciplined more harshly for the same offense (Okonofua et al., 2016; Okonofua & Eberhardt, 2015). The cumulative effect of these kinds of experiences, as well as individual experiences of microaggressions or overt racism can cause students to disengage or to have what could seem like overblown reactions to individual events if they are not understood in this larger context. Helping educators recognize and be able to identify when these factors may be at play, even if they are not able to influence the circumstances, may help them become more empathetic and patient with their students. 

 

Equipping educators to recognize these elements may also help them recognize and address situations where students might be experiencing dissonance between what they, as a teacher, are doing or saying and conflicting messages present in the environment. For example, if they are reassuring a female student that they can succeed in their math class, but the walls of that classroom are decorated with posters of male scientists and mathematicians, or if the teacher calls upon male students more than female students, this student may not be aware of why but may feel more discouraged and disengaged in this class than she would in a more supportive classroom environment (Murphy et al., 2007).   

 

Without this context, educators may misattribute the causes of students’ disengagement or low academic aspirations to student-level factors (e.g., believing it is due to the student having a fixed mindset). Many education researchers who focus on the role of educational and societal structures that replicate inequitable outcomes have been critical and mistrusting of the push to focus on SED/SEL and mindsets because they see it as, ‘locating the problem within the student’ while ignoring these larger structural factors (Kohn, 2015). This is a valid concern that can, in fact, play out if educators are not trained to understand how the learning environment, systemic racism and broader cultural factors can influence students’ aspirations, motivation and engagement.

 

Relevant Resources

 

 

 

  • BLOG & VIDEO (Harvard Gazette): The costs of inequality: Education’s the one key that rules them all (Corydon Ireland, February 15, 2016)

 

  • VIDEO (Carnegie Foundation): Sonja Santelises keynote at the 2018  Carnegie Summit. Sonja Santelises The CEO of Baltimore City Public Schools (BCPS) discusses the history of redlining, the parallel process of under-investment in the schools within marginalized communities by BCPS, and how they are seeking to rectify this issue. (52 min) 

Mindset and Motivation Related Pedagogy 

It is not uncommon for educators who witness certain behavior in students such as a fear of making mistakes or a hyper-focus on proving their smartness to jump to the conclusion that this student has a fixed mindset. But evidence suggests that this kind of fixed mindset behavior could be a transient response to the goals being emphasized in the learning environment. Substantial bodies of research conducted in educational contexts have shown that teachers can play a significant role in creating more equitable, motivating learning environments through the teaching practices they use, the beliefs they hold and the conditions for learning they create in their classrooms (Blazar & Kraft, 2017; Furrer, et al., 2014; Sun, 2015; Yeager et al., 2019). Helping educators build their skills at creating inclusive, motivating learning environments is essential for supporting student engagement and learning mindsets.

 

Relevant Resources 

 

  • SURVEY TOOL (PERTS): Copilot-Elevate This free resource created by PERTS has already been identified by City Year and listed as a resource in their most recent toolkit. It is a professional learning program that uses student voice surveys to help educators enhance engagement, excellence, and equity. AmeriCorps members could provide logistical support for partner teachers who chose to use this tool or possibly use it themselves to survey their focus list students.  

  • RESOURCE HUB (PERTS): The Mindset Kit Also developed by PERTS, this website provides information and teaching practice recommendations related to learning mindsets. In particular, see this Checklist of Growth Mindset Teaching Practices which summarizes growth and fixed mindset teaching practices based on research by Kathy Lui Sun (Sun, 2015). 

  • RESOURCE HUB (BELE Network): Building Equitable Learning Environments Library A library of resources that helps educators, parents, and policymakers find resources and recommendations for creating more equitable and empowering learning environments.  

Neuroscience of Learning and the Role of Emotions

  

Helping educators understand the role of emotions in learning will help build coherence across all the different elements of social and emotional learning programs. Specifically, it would help them to understand the three neural networks (executive, default and salience) that are involved and why they matter for decision making, learning and identity development (Immordino-Yang et al., 2019). 

 

When educators understand that learning cannot happen without emotional engagement it can strengthen their desire to learn ways of embedding SED/SEL into their practice. 

 

Relevant Resources

 

  • JOURNAL ARTICLE (Educational Psychologist): Nurturing Nature: How Brain Development Is Inherently Social and Emotional, and What This Means for Education (Immordino-Yang et al., 2019). Neuroscience research summary demonstrating that emotions play a central role in learning and how three neural networks (executive, default, and salience) coordinate learning and identity development. 

 

  • VIDEO (AERA): Learning with an Emotional Brain (February 2016) Talk by Mary Helen Immordino-Yang discusses neuroscience research demonstrating how emotions are intrinsic to learning. (7 min) 

 

  • PODCAST (APA Division 15): Dr. Mary Helen Immordino-Yang Dr. Immordino-Yang discusses her 2019 Educational Psychologist article, "Nurturing Nature: How Brain Development Is Inherently Social and Emotional, and What This Means for Education." (50 min)

Meaning-making and the Power of Recursive Processes 

Many educators are already aware of the importance of understanding students' meaning-making processes. Their skill and confidence in the impact of their efforts at helping students adopt more positive narratives could be deepened by sharing a few key intervention studies that demonstrate the effect of interrupting negative recursive cycles and planting seeds that can unleash more positive recursive cycles that unfold slowly but powerfully over time. Interventions designed to trigger positive recursive processes gain their power by: 1) addressing core questions students have at key moments in time when doubt can be triggered (e.g., getting critical feedback, or the transition to a more challenging learning environment) and 2) providing an alternative, more positive interpretation for the meaning of difficult experiences. To hear mindset researchers describe how these interventions work, see this 3-minute video by the College Transition Collaborative. 

 

Learning about these brief interventions could also expose educators to simple but powerful messages that they could easily weave into their work.

Background Information

 

AmeriCorps members are already learning about growth mindset interventions that help students see intelligence and other abilities as malleable. Additional examples include: 

  • Belonging interventions – Brief, widely-replicated interventions that help normalize belonging uncertainty as students transition into new academic environments such as the transition to high school or college have reduced the achievement gap for students from marginalized groups by 50% (Brady et al., 2020; Walton & Cohen, 2011). A similar intervention with 7th-grade students which normalized worries about belonging and relationships with teachers improved academic outcomes and reduced discipline citations among Black boys through the end of high school by 65% (Parker Goyer et al., 2019). 

  • Reappraisal of anxiety – When students preparing to take the GRE were told that anxiety is the body’s way of preparing for a challenge and that it can actually help their performance, they did better on the practice GRE and the real GRE exam three months later (Jamieson et al., 2010). Note that this intervention is based on an accurate, fact-based description of the physiological responses to a challenge and provides an excellent example of the negative impact of having anxiety about anxiety. 

 

Relevant Resources

  • VIDEO (Behavior Change For Good): Beliefs Count Twice: How to Harness the Human Stress Response to Promote Well-being (Dec 3, 2020) David Yeager Ph.D. and guests discusses recent research on combining a reappraisal intervention with a growth mindset intervention. Note that some Q&A’s discuss complex research methods that may not be of interest to practitioners. However, there are important insights shared in this section on, for example, how best to leverage recursive processes. (45 min)

 

Growth Mindset Pedagogy

Many educators have a strong grasp of the nuances involved in helping students develop a growth mindset such as focusing students on the process of learning over the end product, helping them embrace challenges and mistakes as part of learning, praising students' effort and use of effective strategies. Three recommendations for expanding their expertise include:

 

  1. Use praise carefully: This only came up a couple of times in the interviews, but it is worth highlighting that a common mistake made with struggling students is to praise them excessively for even the smallest success. Some students may benefit from this, but there is evidence that it can also backfire and reinforce a fixed mindset. Students are acutely sensitive to inauthentic praise and are also acutely sensitive to how adults are praising other students in their classes. High-performing students often receive less praise and are held to higher standards which can lead over-praised low-performing students to conclude that teachers perceive them as less competent and that the praise is meant to make them feel better about their lack of ability (Brummelman et al., 2014).

  2. Address collective narratives for learning and achievement differences: Students, especially in middle and high school, are strongly influenced by their peer’s beliefs, even if they aren’t spoken out loud in the classroom (Furrer, et al., 2014). For this reason, it is important to intentionally cultivate classroom norms that provide a growth mindset supporting narrative on root causes and systemic inequities that help explain why certain learning and performance differences exist. Using collaborative processes to develop these norms elevates student voice and creates structured opportunities for exposing and reframing fixed mindset beliefs. This, in turn, can help reduce the possible stigma for students being targeted for intervention. Of course, this requires that the teacher values promoting growth mindset norms in their class. If they don’t, addressing these fixed mindset narratives about the cause of learning differences should still be addressed individually or in small group intervention work.

  3. Encourage a growth mindset of emotion regulation: There is a growing body of research showing that teaching people to have a growth mindset about their ability to regulate their emotions can have a powerful impact on their emotional well-being and resilience to stress (Crum et al., 2017). Given the enormous stress that the pandemic has had on everyone, teaching this explicitly to students and to the adults who work with them could have an important positive impact.

Relevant Resources

TO BE ADDED SOON

Autonomy & Intrinsic Motivation

Autonomy is a core psychological need and thus when violated, can have a negative impact on motivation (Ryan & Deci, 2000). In general, people, students included, are more motivated when they feel they have some amount of choice in what activities they engage in, and that they see the purpose and relevance of what they are being asked to do. Some common teaching practices such as using extrinsic rewards and more authoritarian behavior management strategies are traditionally thought to violate autonomy and thus impair intrinsic motivation.

 

A recent meta-analysis suggests we may need to refine our understanding of extrinsic and intrinsic motivation in academic contexts (Locke & Schattke, 2019). Therefore, it would be valuable to explore this topic more fully through conducting a literature review. I will add research synthesis here as time permits

Relevant Resources

  • RESOURCE HUB (Center for Self Determination Theory): Basic Psychological Needs – A website of resources curated by SDT researcher Maarten Vansteenkiste, Ph.D., professor of psychology at Ghent University in Belgium. 

 

Relevance & Purpose

Students are more motivated and engaged when they can connect their coursework to their own lives and goals. Common strategies include adding references to topics students can connect with personally into curricula and giving students choices to enhance their sense of agency. Two additional strategies that can easily be added to educators' toolbox that have strong evidence for promoting persistence and resilience:

  1. Provide time for students to self-generate reflections on the relevance of their school work (Hulleman et al., 2016).

  2. Support students in reflecting on issues they care about and how their education could help them be part of addressing these issues—also referred to as having a ‘beyond-the-self' purpose for learning (Yeager, Henderson, et al., 2014; Yeager et al., 2019).

 

These strategies help students connect to intrinsically motivating (i.e., autonomous) reasons for working hard.

Relevant Resources

  • RESOURCES HUB (BELE Resource Library): See Meaningful Work in the BELE Resources Library for more background research and concrete strategies for promoting a sense of purpose and relevance for learning.

  • RESOURCE (Character Lab): Purpose Playbook One of many playbooks offered by Character Lab that are co-developed by researchers and practitioners.

 

Identity Safety and Integrated Identity Development

 

Students may detach (de-identify) from school or from certain academic domains (e.g., STEM) if there are negative stereotypes about their group’s ability to do well in that domain (e.g., women in STEM) or if identifying strongly with school would put other valued aspects of their identity at risk (e.g., peer-norm against caring about school) (Good et al., 2010; Steele, 1997). Training AmeriCorps members to understand integrated identity development, identity safety, identity threat and stereotype threat would help them support their students in navigating situations where identity threat or identity conflicts may be causing resistance to academic engagement. 

 

Many AmeriCorps members may have successfully navigated identity conflicts of their own and may already be engaging with their students on this topic. If so, it could be fruitful to provide AmeriCorps members with opportunities to engage in Youth-led Participatory Action Research (YPAR) with the goal of designing strategies for helping students to resolve identity conflicts.

 

Relevant Resources 

 

Integrated Identity

Resources for supporting students in developing an integrated identity and addressing possible identity conflicts:

 

  • REPORT (UChicago Consortium of School Research): Foundations for Young Adult Success: A Developmental Framework  (Nagaoka et al., 2015) This framework positions the development of an integrated identity as one of the three key factors needed for young adult success.

 

 

 

  • PODCAST (Hidden Brain): Between Two Worlds (Nov 9, 2020) Host Shankar Vedantam interviews Jennifer Morton, author of Moving Up Without Losing Your Way. (48 min) 

 

  • VIDEO (Idea Public School): College-Going Identity: Ana’s Story This short training video introduces teachers in the Idea Public Schools network to the kinds of identity conflicts first-generation students from minority communities may face as they plan for and transition into college. (13 min)  

 

Identity Threat and Identity Safety

 

Resources for understanding the central role of identity threat in producing unequal outcomes and how to improve belonging and identity safety.

 

 

  • VIDEO (Mindset Scholars Network): Studying Belonging in Education (December, 2018) MSN Executive Director, Lisa Quay facilities a panel discussion on the science of belonging with Professors Claude Steele, Mary Murphy, and Greg Walton. (53 min)