Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Our Latest Edutopia Post Gives Strategies for Improving Students' Executive Function

Our latest blog post for Edutopia explores the importance of the brain's executive function and describes how teachers can help students direct their thinking and cognitive abilities toward setting goals and planning to achieve them, establishing priorities, getting and staying organized, and focusing attention on the task at hand.

Entitled "Strategies for Students With Scattered Minds," the post describes "workouts"  that allow students to practice pausing, prioritizing, improving their working memory, and mapping their options.

As a former classroom teacher and school psychologist, I worked with many youth who had difficulty with various executive functions, such as the ability to inhibit behavior, initiation and planning behavior, working memory and the ability to selectively maintain attention on information needed to complete a learning task, as well as cognitive flexibility.

Based on this experience, I found that explicit instruction about executive function and how to improve it is especially useful for students with learning challenges.