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Teaching Executive Functioning Skills

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  • 0:04 Executive Functioning Skills
  • 0:59 Teaching Executive Functioning
  • 2:54 Lesson Summary
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Instructor: Maggie Rouman

Maggie currently teaches post-secondary e-learning and assessment courses and has a bachelor's degree in special education and a master's degree in educational neuroscience.

Teachers are more interested than ever in teaching students executive management skills, such as time management, planning, and organization. Learn how to teach executive functioning skills so your students can be more successful in school.

Executive Functioning Skills

Bobby, a sixth-grade student, has a research paper due in two weeks. To complete this task, he must go through a series of steps. First, he must analyze the parameters of the assignment (i.e., the topic, the number of pages required, and the deadline). Then he has to create a plan by using his organization skills to decide on the necessary steps to complete his research and write the paper. Bobby must also identify resources and develop a timeline to meet the two-week deadline.

Students with strong executive functioning skills can meet the cognitive demands of tasks like this that require planning, organization, time management, and flexible thinking. They see them from concept to completion. They can focus on many different pieces of information at the same time and change gears as necessary. Paying attention, remembering information, and filtering distractions are essential to for school success.

Teaching Executive Functioning

While students with learning disabilities often struggle with executive functioning skills, all students can benefit from this type of instruction. The more you know about teaching executive functioning skills, the better you'll be able to help your students. Try the following teaching strategies to improve reasoning, initiation and planning, and organizational skills.

To improve reasoning skills, teach students how to develop a step-by-step guide for problem solving. Show students how to identify the problem, consider relevant information, and then list and evaluate possible solutions. Once students have done this, they can create a plan of action. When considering solutions, review two alternatives, then let students select one. Eventually, students will learn how to develop alternative solutions on their own.

To provide assistance with getting started on school tasks, have your students identify the first thing they are going to do. Teach them to self-advocate and ask questions such as ''Can you help me get started?'' Also, it's important to teach students to break tasks into small, easily achievable steps.

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