What is Executive Functioning? - BrainStorm Tutoring in Franklin Lakes, NJ: Storm The Test
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What is Executive Functioning?


The term Executive Functioning is used often when it comes to the classroom environment, but do we understand what it means? Executive Functioning is an umbrella of eight skills that we need as humans in order to function day to day.  Let’s break down the three most common to help strengthen the student’s confidence this school year!

  1. Self – Control allows the student to stop and think before acting. A student who may need more support in the area of self-control could have a difficult time staying seated, blurting out and interrupting others, being told to stop multiple times, and acting out or being silly during an important moment. Encourage the student to count to 10 while someone else is talking before raising their hand or interrupting. This allows the student to listen to what is being said and continue with the conversation or task appropriately. The overall goal is for the student to independently adjust their self-control in different environments.
  2. Emotional Control allows students to manage their feelings and achieve goals. A student who may need more support in the area of emotional control could have a challenging time taking criticism, overreacting to small problems, changing moods frequently, and having outbursts in different settings. One strategy to introduce in order to strengthen this skill is called the Breathe 3, Say 3. The student would take three slow breaths while counting to three in their head. You would then follow up the breathing by asking the student to talk out their feelings by listing up to three challenges in the current setting that made them feel that emotion. The breathing allows the student to come back to calm and gather their words in order to explain what challenged them in the first place. The overall goal is for the student to be able to voice their emotions and talk out the challenge. 
  3. Planning, Time Management & Organization allows students to develop a system in order to create steps, gather information, and reach an end goal. A student who may need more support in the area of planning, time management and organization could have a challenging time keeping track of items, keeping their surroundings clean and organized, managing their time on tasks, forgetting school materials at home, and feeling overwhelmed with a big task. When it comes to planning, time management, and organization, you want to help the student create a system that will work for them. Keep in mind, if the student is not interested in the system, it may become difficult for them to participate and actively use it.  A few different organizational systems can include a planner, the educational platform the district uses, such as Google Classroom, or an app on their phone or ipad. The main goal is for the student to use the organizational and planning tool independently, so you want to make sure they are engaged in it! 

Take the time to understand the executive functions the student may need more support in and try out different strategies to help them feel confident in school! If you would like more support, please reach out to Brainstorm Tutoring where our coaches are ready to strengthen and grow your student’s confidence!

-Nicole Castro, SAC Matchmaker