Four Strategies for Enhancing Executive Functioning

Four Strategies for Enhancing Executive Functioning

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Four Strategies for Enhancing Executive Functioning

In middle and high school, as teachers of a single subject, our planning typically focuses on developing lessons that are relevant to our curriculum and engage students. But where are the chances for students to improve their executive functioning? What subject does this knowledge belong in?

A lot of our students are dealing with a lot of stress, anxiety, and health issues, especially during and after the pandemic. Leader working abilities aren’t inborn for developing adolescent and secondary school understudies, and the additional difficulties they’re confronting further upset their capacity to assemble these abilities.

Our students’ underdeveloped executive functioning has a cascading effect that increases their need for intervention and academic difficulties, necessitating more individualized instruction from teachers.

Four Strategies for Enhancing Executive Functioning

Although executive functioning skills are not taught in a single lesson and are not innate, they are essential to our students’ academic and personal success. Therefore, how can classroom routines and supports for executive functioning be implemented by teachers without degrading lesson time?


The Pomodoro Technique, developed by Francesco Cirillo, is a method for dividing work into 25 minutes of work and five minutes of breaks. This frequently makes more noteworthy efficiency and further develops time usage abilities for understudies. Options like allowing students to use devices, spending time outside, playing quick games, and so on can be used by teachers to reward their students appropriately during breaks.

Students who engage in this kind of interval work and internalize time periods can benefit from the use of visual timers. This approach can be further utilized by teachers by modeling it in their own instruction and providing students and teachers with brief breaks during direct instruction.

2. Strategic I-PLAN: Planning and organization.

While students who use planners keep track of assignments and due dates, they frequently neglect the essential skill of putting those notes into action. The “I-Plan Strategy” is a method for scaffolding students’ development of organization and planning skills because students do not naturally have these skills. It’s just a tool that lets students plan their own schedules, giving them more control and self-management over their time.

Long-term projects, reading plans, packets, presentations, and other assignments that are not due the following class Give students the chance to “I-Plan.” Students can outline their project benchmarks individually or in groups. For instance, give the class a chance to discuss the reading schedule together when students share a deadline to finish a book.

Offer students benchmarks and give them time to plan out their own individual due dates for individual assignments like presentations. When you give students control over their benchmark dates and move past a due date into an actionable and progressive plan, you’ve made a shift.

3. Individual Road Map: SELF-REFLECTION AND Objective SETTING.

As educators, we are aware of the significance of goal-setting and self-reflection. It is a part of our own professional development and pedagogical practice for many of us. Students are more connected to their own development and progress when they have the chance to set goals and reflect in the classroom.

The Personal Road Map, a single sheet of paper that students interact with throughout the year, can be adapted by teachers to incorporate opportunities for goal setting and reflection. On a Personal Road Map, have students define and set their own personal success goals for the class to begin the school year.

Give students five minutes during each grading period to consider their progress in class and how it relates to their goals. These road maps promote a growth mindset, which may result in increased course participation. This resource can be used by teachers when they meet with students or their parents, or even when they think about growth-based grading.


Students thrive when they are a part of a supportive group that makes them feel at ease in social situations. Positive Partners are student partners that are assigned by the teacher and rotate throughout the year at the teacher’s discretion. Students can practice navigating a variety of low-stakes social interactions by scheduling time for Positivity Partners to interact and reflect on the class.

Students may lose important information during the frantic last two minutes of a class period. A method designed to routinely and positively conclude each class period is Positivity Partners. Positivity Partners meet for one of the following activities during the final two minutes of class: sum up what they realized in class, survey the schoolwork or forthcoming due dates, or praise each other on something done or said in class. Not only do Positivity Partners help create a sense of community in the classroom and establish routines for closing it, but they also give students a chance to use their working memory in a social setting and, who knows, even get some positive praise.

All students benefit from the practice of encouraging the development of executive functioning. Teachers help students and teachers alike develop real-world skills by incorporating opportunities for this development into daily lessons and routines.

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