Executive Function - How?



The good news is that teachers can nurture the executive function in their classrooms. 

As I was doing research, it was very clear that good teachers already implement most of these strategies.   It’s also insightful to realize that there are many correlations between the 21st Century Skills, brain research, and the development of the executive function.

Here are some suggestions for teachers:

Be specific with goals and expectations.

Give clear step-by-step instructions with visual cues. *

Repeat and rephrase tasks.

Demonstrate and model what you expect students to do.

Teach systematically and explicitly.  Go from simple to complex and concrete to abstract.

Provide students with group and independent activities.

Repetition is important, but remember to provide students with guidance and feedback.

Follow routines and be consistent.


Post the daily schedule and go over it in the morning and after lunch.

Summarize, review, and recall.

Use behavior management with clear rules and procedures.

Reward, encourage, and praise.

Use natural consequences to discipline.  Tie behavior to how it impacts the student and others.

Use folders, trays, boxes, and files to organize work.

Teach students how to prioritize.

Teach note-taking strategies.

Have students recite and record information.

Use graphic organizers, acronyms, and mnemonic devices to help students remember.

Use self-assessments, rubrics, and checklists.

Encourage students to do self-reflection and set goals.

Eliminate outside distractions to help students focus.

Engage students’ attention with projects that are creative, novel, and challenging.

* Check the Downloads link in the menu at the top for a free song download and a handout for some of these suggestions.

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