lewelma Posted September 30, 2018 Share Posted September 30, 2018 In a previous thread about a how to do well in college, Maize asked about teaching executive function skills to kids who have trouble. I promised to start a new thread. I've copied in my two responses and hope people can add to them. I'm happy to answer questions with what I do with my tutor kids. On 9/22/2018 at 12:29 PM, maize said: I'd be interested in knowing what strategies have worked for people who generally struggle with executive function. A person who is naturally disorganized and has trouble focusing isn't likely to benefit from being told what organized, well focused people do that works for them. I tutor at-risk teens, and many of them have executive function problems. I do not agree that a class is the solution-- in my experience, these kids need modelling and mentoring. The first thing I do, is make sure that they pound on a single test, be completely and totally prepared, and ace it. To accomplish this, I evaluate what needs to be learned, organize their study, make daily lists, check up on their progress, mark off how much they have accomplished, discuss giving yourself buffer time in your study plan, do practice tests, organize materials in folders for them. I have no expectation that they can do *any* of this on their own. I have even been known to hold the flash cards for a kid (even 17 year old kids), and sit with them at the library as a friendly supervisor. Basically, I do ALL the executive function *for* them, and make sure they are so prepared as to ace the test. At this point the student knows what it feels like to be totally prepared for a test, and knows the effort it took to get there. This is step one. Next, is the gradual teaching of the *how* of executive function. This takes a *long* time for some students, as in working with me for 2 years. The key is not to expect them to be able to do it. Kids with executive function problems just can't. And nagging them or belittling them is NOT going to work. They have likely had this negative approach for all the years they have been in school. They are already used to also negative self-labelling. Some of my students have so much anxiety from failure due to executive function that they are cutting and drinking etc. To turn it around, these kids need to believe that they are not abnormal. *Many* students (as the original poster has noted) can't organize their way out of a box, it is fine to take time to learn the skill, rather than for someone to just tell you to fix it, now. I tell my students over and over that you must 1) figure out what you are supposed to know, 2) figure out what you actually know, 3) make a plan to get from one to the other. Most kids can do NONE of these 3 things. So you have to show them how to do each, and it is very very tricky to do it well, which is why most kids can't. Maize, I can go through the types of training I do with each of the 3, if you are interested. In this stage, you are working *with* the students to organize their study, in contrast to stage 1 where you do it all for them. Finally, you have the students organize their study while you watch. This step is often best done during exam season, so over the period of a month, and after you have already done at least 2 exam seasons *with* them. This stage is about making sure they do it on their own and about making sure that they are recognized for doing it (so lots of praise). Kids need to know that someone cares, that there is follow through, that they are not out there on their own before they are ready. Recognition is key -- Wow, you've got this. Oh, what a good idea, I hadn't thought of that, I'll use that with my other students. I love your use of color. Show me how you laid that out. Explain to me your system. Etc. I cannot save all my students, but I can save most. It is about caring, individualized attention. And time. The fix is not quick. Ruth in NZ 21 4 Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
Join the conversation
You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.