How Learning Skills Can Enhance Executive Skills of Student

Executive Skills of Student
In many ways, strong executive functioning skills are the foundation for success. These are the mental processes that help learners plan through assignments, organize materials, initiate a task, manage time well, stay focused, try new strategies when stuck, and persevere until the completion of a goal. If you think about it, those skills are important for every single thing we do! They're also integrated into every content and curriculum area that we teach. As recommended by a coursework help firm, if we want our students to be better planners, organizers, and flexible thinkers, we need to invest the time in teaching executive functioning skills.

The best part about teaching these skills is that all learners can benefit from improved executive functioning skills. Students can always learn better strategies for planning, organizing, managing time, paying attention, and problem-solving to work through challenges. Executive functioning skills lay the foundation for students to manage their own learning each in the classroom and at home. They are important life skills irrespective of the modality of learning.

Practice Makes Perfect:
If you are starting in-person this fall (and even if you are not), go ahead and set up your routine for using the learning management system. Clarity and consistency matter to students both face to face and online. You know how you mostly write out the plan for the day on the top left of the whiteboard? You can apply that same plan online putting homework and assignments in the same place in your online learning management system every day and by posting clear directions and expectations online. That way, students are not having to arrange the data from many different places and figure out new content. Bonus: coordinate with your school, grade level team, or department to use the same process and streamline this further for students.

Chunk It, Say It, Post It:
Working memory is the part of your brain that holds onto and uses information. When you provide directions verbally, you ask students to remember, use, and then access lots of data. To help students with this, when you say a set of directions make sure to break it up into chunks (no more than 2-3 steps at a time is a good rule of thumb) and post directions in an easy to access spot in your online course. If you are only saying it once in person or on a video chat, you are going to have several students spending energy trying to remember the directions so that they may not have the mental space to complete the task. This can be a strategy that will support your students’ working memory in spite of where they’re learning! Use the online environment to extend your capacity to support students’ learning (why waste time repeating directions when you can post them online ahead of time?).

Use Assessment Formatting To Your Advantage:
If you're a student who has difficulty with working memory or visual processing, then reading a passage, scrolling to a question, and taking in all of the options before finishing the mental task to get the answer right takes up much mental capacity. Instead of forcing scrolling, try formatting your online assessment items to be side by side so that students don't have to scroll and over-rely on their memory. Show students how to do this face-to-face so that they are comfortable with this when they are on their own.

Solicit Feedback And Encourage Reflection:
Ask students to share their thoughts on the experience of online learning. I have been blown away by how insightful students are around online learning and research shows such reflection will support emotional control, self-regulation, and self-monitoring skills. Consider setting up a routine where every Friday, you ask students to reflect on what worked well and what was hard about the assignments you provided. Ask them what is been challenging and inspiring in their lives. Help them by creating a safe space to reflect and listen to their feedback. Share with students what you’ve done in response to their feedback so that it feels productive for students. Start this practice in person and have them turn it in online from week one.

Use Rituals To Your Advantage:
Learning something new is difficult. Learning something new on your own while watching a computer is even harder. Explicitly teach students what to do when things go off the rails - have a sound, a movement, or a ritual that students can use when they feel overwhelmed at home without an instructor to run to for support. Rituals or routines will facilitate otherwise emotional experiences take up less space in our brains so we can focus on the task ahead. Build something like this along with your students when you are face-to-face with them and continue to model it during your remote lessons to support students' emotional control and inhibition.

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