Three Easy Steps to Accelerate Executive Function Skills Every Day

| by Thuy Truong, M.A. Ed., TPT Teaching and Coaching, 2/3/2021|

Executive function is considered a 21st century skill. It is the frontal lobe of the brain that controls response inhibition, working memory, task initiation, flexible thinking, sustained attention, and emotional control. These are the foundational skills that underlie academic success. The fast-paced, digitized world has rapidly elevated the important role and mastery of executive function skills. Nowadays, students are required to become proficient with executive skills at an earlier age because the educational landscape has become increasingly complex. With the rise of virtual instruction, executive function skills have become a strong determining factor in students' academic performance. Thus, repeated practice is essential in improving executive function skills. In order to help students maintain their executive skills in a highly intricate world, a rather interesting question is, how does one incorporate executive skills into the everyday while maximizing consistent implementation and effortlessness for a busy household and an easily distracted student? The following strategies may shed some light on this issue.

1. Multipurpose It

To maximize convenience, it is best to multipurpose a single executive skill in many ways to promote creative student application in the future, so parents can step back. Students also need multiple rounds of practice to bring a specific skill into long-term memory. This is particularly effective because it allows the student to digest the concept deeper through various real-life applications. For instance, let's take the concept of workload management: organize things as you go instead of letting it pile up. The student can practice this very skill in three to four different ways daily: update your planner, clean your room for 15 minutes, and set your materials out the night before. All these daily activities reinforce the skill of organization and management. The act of diversifying one skill in a wide variety of activities serves two benefits for the child: a) it will allow the child to have am