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Executive Function

A New Way of Understanding Our Students

Bill Barfoot

on 4 September 2012

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Transcript of Executive Function

A New Way of Understanding Your Students Executive Functioning "Involves activating, orchestrating, monitoring, evaluating, and adapting different strategies to accomplish different tasks" (Horowitz, 2007) Definition of Executive Functioning "Requires the ability to analyze situations, plan and take action, focus and maintain attention, and adjust actions as needed" (Horowitz, 2007) Definition of Executive Functioning (cont'd.) Cognitive Activities and Related Executive Functions Initiating
Sequencing Activation Focusing
Shifting attention Focus Pacing
Managing time
Resisting distraction Effort Managing frustration
Regulating emotions Emotion Memory Utilizing working memory
Accessing recall Monitoring action
Self-regulating action
Inhibiting Action Learning Activities and Executive Dysfunction Reading comprehension Signs of executive dysfunction Reading comprehension Working memory and accessing recall
Regulating alertness Executive functions used: When reaching the end of a passage, she forgets key points she had previously picked up and understood
When reading a long passage, she can't stay alert and attentive Writing Executive functions used: Activating
Sequencing Writing Signs of executive dysfunction He has difficulty starting a writing assignment
He struggles with generating an outline
Facts and ideas are presented in a disorganized, illogical manner Shifting Between Tasks Executive functions used: Shifting attention
Managing frustration Shifting Between Tasks Signs of executive dysfunction: He can't "let go" of a task and turn attention to another
He becomes angry or frustrated when he feels forced to switch tasks Playing with Peers Executive functions used: Self-regulation
Managing frustration Playing with Peers Signs of executive dysfunction She has difficulty waiting her turn and working cooperatively
When frustrated with peers, she may act out impulsively Activities Demonstrating Executive Functioning Tower of Hanoi Stroop Visual Test Represent the problem: “What do I need to accomplish? What is preventing me from accomplishing it?”
Come up with a plan for a solving the problem.
Actually execute or carry out that plan.
Evaluate the adequacy of the attempted solution. Executive function involves the orchestration of these subfunctions. The Development of Executive Function in Infancy and Early Childhood Jean Piaget - "A-not-B error" The Development of Executive Function in Infancy and Early Childhood Dimensional Change Card Sort Task Adele Diamond - "Tools of the Mind", Montessori, and Executive Function Teaching Executive Functioning General Strategies Step-by-step approaches Visual organizational aids Visual schedules Transitions Time-management Checklists and to-do lists Break things down Visual calendars Managing Space and Materials Organize work space Minimize clutter Separate work areas Regular cleaning time Managing Work Checklists for assignments Review work regularly Troubleshoot Other Considerations EF strategies should be taught explicitly and systematically How, when, and why Embedded learning opportunities Encourage students to modify and personalize Other Considerations Practice strategies with different tasks Keep motivation high Realistic goals and self-monitoring Writing Young Children Gradually increase steps in directions
Encourage pretend play
Buddy reading; encourage active listening
Encourage "private speech"
Games that emphasize shifting attention, decision-making, etc.
Model, model, model! Three Ways to Help
Young Kids Achieve Effective Executive Functioning Change Their Actual
Brain Functioning Sleep Nutrition Exercise Nature/outdoors Change the Environment Systems for material organization Timers and reminders Daily routines and schedules Checklists Change Their Behavior Teach/model problem-solving skills Ask questions about planning, organization, and self-monitoring Analysis/reconstitution and planning Change Their Behavior (cont'd.) Making choices Delaying gratification Frustration tolerance Consequences
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