Frequently Asked Questions About Executive Functioning

Check out the answers to many of the common questions we receive here at Effective Students

Common Terms About Executive Functions

What are Executive Function Skills?

Sometimes referred to as ‘self-management skills’, executive functions refers to a wide range of cognitive abilities affecting planning and executing, memory, critical thinking, and one’s ability to exercise self-control. These abilities are considered essential to function throughout school, work, and everyday life. Students who struggle with executive function may have difficulties starting or stopping tasks, focusing and following directions.

What is an Academic Coach?

Great question! An academic coach or an executive function coach works alongside a student to help them apply self management steps (organization/time management/planning and prioritizing) their  current academic demands. Students learn by doing so a coach creates an situation where they work WITH a student, not does not do the planning FOR the student.

What is a Tutor?

An instructor responsible for helping a student improve in a specific subject area, such as science or math.

Example: Tina is working with a tutor to help improve her understanding of grammar in English class.

What are time management skills?

Time management refers to one’s ability to manage time limits and adhere to imposed deadlines; considered an essential skill for students as it applies to preparing for assessments and completing assignments on time.  This is often a chief complaint parents have with their students who may procrastinate, have difficulty exiting the house on time or submitting assignments when they are due.  Student may self report they need to ‘improve time management skills’ because they’ve been told that by a parent or teacher.  A qualified executive function coach will help determine what skills are missing,  and help the student build successful follow through steps they can easily follow.

Example: Toby has been using the Effective Student Method to improve his time management as it relates to completing homework assignments, going to bed at a reasonable hour and managing his own screen time.

If you are looking to improve time management skills, try our time management worksheet and exercise, for free!

What are study skills?

Study skills acquired by a student that enables him/her to create and/or identify an effective activity to learn material specific to a subject or type of content. Good study skills include multi-sensory learning opportunity as well as retrieval practice to verify efficacy of strategy.  Study skills should be specific to and appropriate for content type (vocabulary vs math problems). Study skills are developed like any other skills and require intentional practice and instruction. Study skills are necessary for students to be successful in school but are rarely directly taught.

What are organization skills?

Having a system to categorize information and materials.

Example: Organization helps students reduce anxiety, save time, better manage their assignments and keep track of upcoming due dates.

About the Effective Students Method

How does Effective Students help focus on studying?

The Effective Student™ Method helps students identify and eliminate everyday distractions that are especially pervasive in today’s virtual world.   Students learn to improve when they become aware of what is hindering them, learn and apply steps to improve, practice those steps and receive feedback.  Simple organizational strategies simplify finding resources, can reduce stress or how taxed their working memory is for a given set of steps.  We work with each student to find winning strategies, building better study habits that last a lifetime.

Is an Academic Coach the same thing as a tutor?

No! An Academic Coach is focused on teaching a student to become independent. A tutor is focused on having the student succeed in a specific class(es). We like to use the example of teaching a student to fish instead of feeding them for a day.

Does my child need an Academic Coach?

We recommend academic coaching for any student, whether they’re already successful or struggling. Our proprietary method not only sets students up for short term successes in school, but also teaches them lifelong skills they’ll take with them down the road.

How can my student develop good study habits?

Habits are something one can do without thinking. If one believes Malcolm Gladwell’s theory in Outliers, it takes 3,000 repetitions for students to develop habits. The Effective Student™ Method addresses the cycle of learning as 1) practice, 2) awareness, 3) adjustments, and 4) repetition across all four focus areas of: Organization, Time Management, Study Skills, and Test Analysis.

What age group is best suited for The Effective Student™ Method?

The Effective Student™ Method is appropriate for grades 4-12 as well as those in college.

Will the Effective Student™ course help my child who has ADHD?

For students who can learn on their own or are supported by parents, we offer a course that walks through some of the basics of academic management.  For instance, organizational skills training for children with ADHD is a key step to their development and independence. The Effective Student™ course will help your child organize and manage their time, while learning how to prioritize and forecast when tasks should be done. Each lesson is roughly 15 minutes and designed for small successes to empower students step by step.

Do academic coaches work with my student on current assignments?

Yes.  Each coaching session begins with brief rapport building, assessment of a student’s current situation and instruction of a relevant lesson.  Depending on the students age and stage, the coach may provide more than one lesson in a session or help the student prioritize based on the current academic workload or executive function struggle of the day.

How do I as a parent engage in the coaching process?

Parents are an integral part of the coaching process.  We invite parents email their coach with any observations or concerns prior to a session so the coach can address them timely.  We also invite parents to return for the last few minutes of each coaching session for the student to share what they’ve learned and what they will be working on in the coming week.  Periodic check ins with coaches are common throughout the month.

How will I know if my student is making progress?

The Effective Student Method™ includes grading rubrics to measure progress on a quarterly basis.  Students also complete three self assessments during their academic coaching experience.

How long should I expect my student to be in executive function coaching?

That really depends on the student and their environment.  Often we see students for a semester or longer.  Understanding that a students’ academic demands change as they move from grade to grade or from middle to high school or to college, a student may need support to apply what they’ve learned to a new environment.  If that is the case, they’re welcome to return to coaching for a session or two to make sure they’re on track.

What if my student needs the instruction immediately and can apply lessons on their own?

For students who need a bootcamp and can apply lessons on their own, The Effective Student Workshop is held approximately four times per year.  This intensive program provides instruction equips students with the tools to successfully project manage, how to study and how to plan ahead.  For more information, please see here: Study Skills Workshop.

Are you interested in learning more about how The Effective Student™ Method can help you or your student?