executive function lessons

Executive Functioning Lessons for Success

It seems as early as elementary school, students are hearing about how they need to be “prepared for the future”.  The pressures of getting into advanced courses begin, even at the start of middle school. Students are then encouraged to focus on college preparation and readiness. With all of this focus on success in the future, what are schools doing to ensure students are developing the skills now to succeed once they get there? 


Perhaps the biggest determinant of success, both in school and in life, is not actually subject matter knowledge, but rather a mastery of Executive Functioning Skills.  Executive Functioning Skills center around flexible thinking, organizational skills, time management, and emotional regulation.  So, this begs the question, how can we, as educators and parents, ensure that students are best able to grow and develop Executive Functioning Skills? A systematic, scaffolded Executive Functioning Curriculum with a set of specific Executive Functioning Lessons designed to address these skills incrementally, with exercises to help students become aware of and build these competencies.

Executive Function Classes

Educators approach designing lessons and learning experiences that reinforce understanding and move toward the ultimate goal of content mastery.  As stated in Understanding by Design, teachers “must be able to state with clarity what the student should understand and be able to do as a result of any plan” set forth in the curriculum (Wiggins et al., 2005, p. 14).  


In the article Curriculum Design: Definition, Purpose, and Types, Karen Schweitzer mentions when learners are at the center of curriculum design, this is “meant to empower [students] and allow them to shape their education through choices” (Schweitzer, 2020).  At Effective Students, the Executive Function lessons have been designed to center on the learners’ needs and meet students where they are, both academically and organizationally.  This approach empowers learners to take charge of their own study plans, time management, and analysis of success.


As educators design curriculum for the classroom, Effective Students has done the same in the world of Executive Functions by creating a curriculum plan with an intentional focus on what it means to grow this particular set of skills.  Students work through a consistent cycle of practice, teacher feedback and self-awareness, and adjustments to practice in order to develop skills such as organization, time management, study actions, and the test analysis process.  This consistent cycle of feedback encourages higher learning outcomes with “measurable knowledge, skills, and attitudes” of students (Schweitzer, 2020).  Students gain independence with their own learning and confidence to approach challenging situations moving forward.  


If you’re looking for ways to incorporate Executive Functioning Lessons and have a robust Executive Functioning Curriculum in your school, check out our online teacher training and teacher instructional manual.  Help your students better prepare for all the things their futures may hold!


Cited Sources: 


Schweitzer, Karen. (2020, October 29). Curriculum design: Definition, purpose and types. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/curriculum-design-definition-4154176

Wiggins, G., Wiggins, G.P., & McTighe, J. (2005). Understanding by design. Ascd. 

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