As the end of the semester comes into sight, school is getting pretty frantic. With testing, essays, finals, and presentations, there is no time for executive function, right? Wrong! Executive function strategies are essential for successful learning, and as the demands in the classroom increase, students need strategies even more.
Students do not always enjoy test taking — no surprise there. Even less surprising is that students often do not have strategies for breaking down the steps for studying. By helping students understand how to approach tests strategically, you can help them use their time efficiently and effectively. By breaking tests into their components, you can teach strategies to address the most challenging areas, such as a reading comprehension strategy or a strategy for understanding confusing directions.
When it comes to essays and final projects, executive function strategies are essential. As teachers, we often structure projects and papers for our students. We break down the steps and embed strategies, such as graphic organizers and editing checklists, directly into the assignment. By taking the time to teach your students how and why you have created these structures, you will be building their understanding of executive function and preparing them for college where these structures may not exist.
So teachers, I know you are busy, but take a few minutes to analyze the rest of your semester and plan out how executive function strategies align with your lessons for the rest of the year. You won’t regret it!
- Michael Greschler, M.Ed., SMARTS Director