Executive Function Skills and the Connection to Behavior
How many times have you considered students’ inattention in class, poor behavior or poor grades as laziness, lack of studying, or simply lack of motivation and caring? Suppose it is none of these, but rather weaknesses in executive functioning skills? And what if there was something you could do to help your students succeed?
What are Executive Function Skills:
Executive function and self-regulation skills are the mental processes that enable us to plan, focus attention, remember instructions, and juggle multiple tasks successfully. Just as an air traffic control system at a busy airport safely manages the arrivals and departures of many aircraft on multiple runways, the brain needs this skill set to filter distractions, prioritize tasks, set and achieve goals, and control impulses.
Why do these students struggle academically and/or behaviorally:
One reason that students struggle, despite their hard work and effort, is because they have deficits in executive functions, the mental processes that control and coordinate activities related to learning. Executive functioning is not the same as intelligence. Even students who are quite intelligent might experience difficulties with executive function processes related to learning, such as:
- Processing information
- Retaining and recalling information
- Organizing materials and managing time
- Selecting, monitoring, and using effective learning and study strategies
These executive function processes are highly related to academic success.
Iris Center Vanderbilt University
How can I help my students identify strengths and weaknesses when it comes to Executive Function Skills?
Check out the Executive Skills Questionnaire that not only helps identify skill strengths and weaknesses, but also goes into a variety of ways to develop these skills, to involve a variety of Tier I interventions:
Want to learn even more, and see first hand examples, about the impact of Executive Function Skills on students, complete the Learning Module below:
Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) of Virginia is a Commonwealth of Virginia initiative to support positive academic and behavioral outcomes for all students. This web site is a collection of resources, tools, training opportunities and similar guides for educators and school administrators.
We work closely with public school teachers and administrators throughout Virginia to help them learn about and implement discipline approaches that reduce disruptive behavior in the classroom.
The program is based on extensive research and utilizes a preventative and proactive approach to discipline that reduces the amount of time spent dealing with office referrals, thereby increasing time spent teaching and learning. PBIS ultimately impacts the very culture of the school to shift attention to positive behavior and successful learning systems for children, teachers and administrators.
For more information, visit Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports of Virginia.
The Virginia Department of Education is committed to providing all students the best possible education, in collaboration with the Training and Technical Assistance Center at Old Dominion University, we have developed a series of modules that relate to 25 strategies of proven effectiveness.
Learn more and register to view the modules by visiting the PBIS of Virginia website.