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Community Organizer Turned Teacher Aims for Social Change

Larry Ferlazzo is proactive in being a positive influence in education

Larry Ferlazzo is a highly influential educator and author of nine books on teaching and education. He teaches English and Social Studies, and he specializes in teaching English Language Learners. Larry is known for sharing resources with other education professionals to help them improve their instruction techniques.

Larry has been teaching for quite some time, but before becoming an educator, he had a long and successful career as a community organizer. If you place both callings together, it is evident that he is proactive in influencing social change.

“I came to teaching after a 19-year career in community organizing, so I’m very interested in trying to influence social change,” he says. “As I became more familiar with how I could connect with educators online, I began to think about how I can use that to influence folks on education policy issues. My teaching style is a combination of both practical teaching and bringing a political perspective to the work.

“From the very beginning, one of the reasons I was attracted to teaching was I saw how people had dramatically improved their lives through organizing. I saw what they learned through organizing and how they could work with different people on common concerns, the value of diversity, and the power that people actually had. People were learning this in their twenties, thirties, forties, fifties, and sixties dramatically improving their lives.

“I thought that if people learn these skills a little earlier, they could improve their lives sooner. So that’s one of the reasons I originally got into teaching. And from the very beginning, I applied those skills to work in the classroom with students.”

I appreciate Larry’s thought leadership in education, and his willingness to speak up and share ideas with other professionals to make education better for all stakeholders involved.

About Larry Ferlazzo

Larry Ferlazzo HeadshotLarry teaches English, Social Studies and International Baccalaureate classes to English Language Learners and mainstream students at Luther Burbank High School in Sacramento, California.

He’s written nine books: The ELL Teacher’s Tool Box (with co-author Katie Hull Sypnieski) 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).

Larry has won several awards, including the Leadership For A Changing World Award from the Ford Foundation, and was the Grand Prize Winner of the International Reading Association Award for Technology and Reading.

He writes a popular education blog at larryferlazzo.edublogs.org, a weekly teacher advice column for Education Week Teacher and regular posts for The New York Times and The British Council. His articles on education policy appear in the Washington Post and the Huffington Post. In addition, his articles have appeared in publications such as ASCD Educational Leadership, Social Policy, and Language Magazine.

In addition, he hosts a weekly radio show on BAM! Education Radio.

Larry was a community organizer for nineteen years prior to becoming a public school teacher.

Larry is married and has three children and two grandchildren.

Follow Larry Ferlazzo on Twitter.

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