Executive functioning (EF) is a way of describing how well we manage information and our behavior. EF describes how well the frontal lobe, the last part of the brain to fully develop, is functioning. EF describes "how" we do what "decide" to do. Well developed EF skills are a better indicator of academic and life success than IQ and these skills can be improved in our students if we are purposeful in our instruction. Various models of EF exist but for our purposes we have focused on developing classroom lessons for the eleven skills listed below.
The program of lessons begins with an introduction lesson that focuses on defining executive functioning skills and establishing the importance of mindset. Mindset plays a critical role in how one copes with challenges in life. A growth mindset makes it more likely that one will persevere. We want students to understand that their brains are still developing and therefore it is possible to change their brain for the better. Possessing a growth mindset is essential to EF skill-building.
The program of lessons ends with a concluding lesson linking executive functioning skills to the greater theme of becoming a more resilient individual. Resilience describes the ability of individuals to recover from difficulties. Resilient people tap into their strengths and support systems to overcome challenges and work through problems. Developing executive functioning skills makes a person more resilient.