Executive functions is your brain’s ability to plan, inhibit, organise, memorise and more. These sets of skills are lifelong and take half your adult life to develop. However, we have to help students develop these otherwise not only will ‘doing school’ be hard, ‘doing life’ may be a challenge as well! This is a good article with some strategies to help develop these skills.
Research is increasingly showing how standing up can improve students’ working memory and executive functioning. This article highlights the trends in this research.
Watch this wonderful video where a Japanese teachers shows Cookie Monster how to get involved with Whole Body Listening! Very important to hear, see, be quiet and calm in order to process what’s happening in the classroom.
Watch this TED talk to understand how your working memory makes sense of the world.
Strategies for improving focus and concentration
- Games such as this: Parent says, “I went to the market and bought an apple”. Child adds, “I went to the market and bought and apple and a banana.” Then add one more item at a time and see how many a child can remember in one go.
- Take 10 items on a plate/on a desk and let the child see them for1 minute. Then ask the child to turn around and take one item away. Can he/she remember the missing item? OR cover it up with a cloth and see how many items the child can recall.
- Play “Simon Says” to improve listening and concentration skills.
- Play ‘Memory’ with playing cards or colored cards, or flashcards with sight words or letters on them. Open two at a time to find matching pairs.
- Play ‘Snap’, and use playing cards to find matching pairs.
- Play ‘I Spy’ to improve observation and memory.
- Ask the child to look at a picture for a minute or so, and take it away. Ask child to reproduce the picture and match the details. A good way to do this is to use geometric shapes and increase complexity by adding lines, arrows, dots, etc.
- ‘Patterning’: show the child a pattern made from coins, geometric shapes or any handy objects around the house. Ask them to see it for a few seconds, cover and ask them to make the same pattern.
- Crossword and picture puzzles are a great way to improve their focus and attention to detail.