The Elementary Learning Support Team put together a workshop for our colleagues to explore how executive function skills could impact learning. We wanted to help teacher’s to build knowledge about Executive Functioning (EF) Skills and enhance our repertoire of key EF strategies to strengthen differentiated practice in all classes.
We concentrated on the following areas of Executive Function:
- Planning/Organization/ Time Management
- Task Initiation
- Response Inhibition
- Sustained Attention
- Cognitive Flexibility
- Working Memory
These skills are critical for all learners. The first four areas above are areas that are often noticed by teachers and brought to the attention of learning support teachers. There a number of factors that determine an individual’s EF efficiency. These include genetics, traumatic brain injury and environmental factors. Teachers can affect the environment through their teaching style and through the physical environment of the learning space. They can help children to gain and improve EF skills by differentiated teaching and appropriate scaffolds.
Children diagnosed as on the autism spectrum or with attention deficit disorders (ADHD or ADD) may have challenges related to Executive Function.
At the end of the session teachers had a number of ‘tools in their toolbox’ to help them provide support for children within their teaching area through:
- Environmental level modifications – such as classroom or teaching modifications
- Student level modifications– explicitly teaching strategies and skills to students (at home/school/and in the community)
We found helpful resources at : http://www.ncld.org/
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