Learning Recovery and the Role of Executive Functions
Educators are now discussing learning recovery due to the education loss stemming from virtual instruction and the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. When we think about learning recovery, ideas of meeting criteria of standardized tests, grade level norms and standards come to mind. Since some of those initiatives are now suspended, how should we frame learning recovery and has there been a shift in how we define academic success?
Academics are progressive, meaning what students learn in one year is foundational, something built upon in subsequent years. Learning recovery alludes to ensuring students learn what is prescribed in each grade so they’re prepared to matriculate to the next grade level. So, if students have struggled to learn academics this past year, what have they learned? The early signs suggest today’s students will experience some academic challenges.
If there is any silver lining beyond enduring an unprecedented pandemic, it has exposed the necessary skills students need to succeed in executive functions. This disruption to education has enforced the need for improving self-management skills to stay on task, follow through with undesirable tasks, subjects or assignments and persevere in order to learn content when it doesn’t come easily–instilling a sense of academic grit.
How do you address learning recovery?
To effectively address learning recovery, we have to have a conversation about academic management skills, Executive Functions and their role in learning.
Here are some questions to consider:
- How does a student manage his/her materials?
- What about assignments and tasks?
- Is the student capable of time management?
- Are they aware of how they focus their attention?
Learning follows a cycle of:
Academic Management for Students
How a student frames his/her academic management drives their potential for learning recovery and enrichment. Are they aware there is an obstacle? What instruction are they receiving to see and then overcome the obstacle? How are they being held accountable to the new instruction and practice?
Students will benefit significantly from learning how they have struggled or failed this year, which is where an Academic Coach can help. Coaches encourage, equip, instruct, and help students practice activities that are difficult for them. A great coach enables students to think about themselves as players in the academic game. Are they successful? Where might they be falling short? Are they practicing the drills needed to to help them perform? We as parents and educators need to ask ourselves if we are really equipping them to think about this critically and engaging them in the process of recovery.
Students learning about themselves may be the most important takeaway from this past year. If framed correctly, students can be equipped and positioned for true success.
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Give a man a fish, feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, feed him for a lifetime.