SMARTS empowers students by helping them understand their strengths and weaknesses and teaching them critically important executive function strategies.
Strategies: Executive function strategies, sometimes called executive function skills, empower students to manage demanding academic school work, allowing them to focus their effort and show what they know. When students use strategies effectively, they think and problem solve more flexibly.
Motivation: When students learn strategies that allow them to complete their homework and school work, which previously seemed impossible, they are more motivated to work hard.
Awareness: SMARTS teaches students to develop metacognitive awareness, so they understand how they think and learn. With this knowledge, students can select the strategies that work best for them and can apply these strategies to assignments in all their classes.
Resilience: Once students have learned executive function strategies and understand their learning profiles, they develop resilient approaches to learning. When faced with challenges, they apply strategies rather than giving in to frustration.
Talents: Strategies and metacognitive awareness allow students to leverage their talents, applying their strengths in creative ways so that they can overcome challenges and succeed.
Success: With SMARTS, all students gain the tools they need to succeed. When students understand their learning profiles and use the SMARTS strategies to complete their homework and school work, they are more motivated to persist in the face of challenges.
As students advance through the grades, their academic performance is increasingly dependent on their ability to organize and prioritize complex information, shift flexibly, access working memory, and self-monitor, all critically important executive function processes. Many students, especially those with learning and attention difficulties, become less productive in secondary school because they have not learned the strategies needed to access these important executive function processes.
Students who successfully complete the SMARTS program show increased motivation to learn, stronger effort, and a desire to use executive function strategies in their school work, homework, and studying. Students also develop the self-understanding to know which strategies work best for them as well as why, where, when and how to use these strategies in their academic work.
Thank you to these organizations for funding the development of SMARTS.