Self-management skills are imperative to school success. Often, kids who perform better at school are those that have the most honed executive function skills sets.
For instance, being a good writer isn’t enough. Students need to demonstrate time management in writing, show that they can chunk writing tasks into parts, remember editing strategies, manage attention to see an essay through and more.
Since assessments and grades rely on executive function as a yardstick for mastery, empowering kids and students with these skills can help boost academic performance.
So it is important to know how to identify and encourage developing “studenting” and learning skills. Here’s how;
Replace directions with thought-provoking questions
Most teachers are in the habit of giving lots of the same directions.
If these directions are consciously replaced with mid/low-level supportive questions it can help students develop their future executive function skills and also navigate life as a student.
Take for example, replacing the directive – “Please take out your book” with the mid-level support question: “What do you need to be ready for reading?”
There’s no hard and fast rule to do this. The idea is to adjust your support level for students so that they gradually assume the responsibility.
Teach students how to coach and question themselves
Classroom teachers can take a cue from coaches and mentor teachers and teach students to prompt themselves with reminders and questions for repeating tasks.
A written list of these questions can be made available for students to access in times of planning. The idea is to create a system to make thinking skills visible and the student invisible.
Teachers can supplement students’ developing executive function skills this way.
Use 6 problem-solving magic questions
Teachers who want to help students develop their executive function skills can rely on the following questions:
- What is it you notice?
- What parts don’t you understand?
- What do you think can be helpful to you right now?
- How do you tell??
- Where could you find that information?
- How will you use that strategy or take that action?
Asking these questions regularly help students get used to them, and so they automatically apply them as they solve problems throughout their day.
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