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.
Harvard Center on the Developing Child
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
Iris Center Vanderbilt University: perspectives and resources
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:
Executive Skills Questionnaire
Executive Skills Questionnaire for Teens
Want to learn even more, and see first hand examples, about the impact of Executive Function Skills on students, complete the Learning Module below:
Executive Function Skills Modules