Helping Students Develop Executive Function Skills

Students with executive function impairments, such as those in active listening and time management, can benefit from simple instructional tactics in the classroom.

Executive function is a phrase used in neuroscience to refer to neural processes that are involved in mental control and self-regulation, such as planning and organizing. Executive functions are responsible for the regulation and management of cognitive and social behavior, including the ability to control impulses, pay close attention, remember information, plan and organize time and resources, and remember information. Stressful events, as well as social situations, are handled effectively by them as well.

The prefrontal cortex, which is located in the frontal lobe of the brain, is believed to be in charge of executive function, according to experts. Children are not born with these abilities since their brains are not fully developed at the time of birth. They are, nonetheless, capable of developing them.

The development of executive functions is not as rapid for some pupils as it is for others in the same grade. Students who suffer from executive dysfunction may require more assistance in the classroom.


Understanding the individual needs of a student is critical to resolving a gap. A pupil who is lacking in information does not know how or what to do in a given situation. To teach active listening to students who have difficulty controlling their impulses to talk while listening to others, active listening should be introduced to them. Additionally, teachers might create a chart that illustrates what active listening looks like for their pupils.

While a student may understand how to execute a task, he or she may not be able to use the abilities in the appropriate situation. An instructor could check to see if the student has all of the materials he or she needs to finish the activity. A teacher could present a list of materials as well as a list of strategies to assist pupils who are experiencing this type of impairment. Older pupils may be asked to develop a list and then acquire the necessary supplies, which the teacher can subsequently distribute.

In addition to the use of metacognitive language, another option for dealing with executive function impairments is the use of cognitive restructuring techniques. In some cases, communicating the situation with a younger pupil may be beneficial. I see you’ve forgotten to bring a pencil with you. You will require a pencil to complete this task. You will require a pencil to complete the task successfully.

It is beneficial to illustrate the procedures or questions that students might ask in class to encourage independence and the development of a skill. Students can work with a pair to complete the directions before having a volunteer walk the entire class through the process. Students that require additional auditory processing and repetition can benefit from this method, which takes less time than usual and takes less time than usual.

Time management: Creating a schedule and posting it can be a useful tool for managing your time. The daily plan in the classroom serves to organize the day and prepare students for the next. A schedule of activities divides time into smaller chunks and outlines how each period will be used to accomplish specific tasks. Also included is a description of the sequence in which the activities will be presented. These schedules are frequently posted in areas where students can quickly access them throughout the day.

Students who suffer from executive dysfunction may find it challenging to complete long-term assignments. This problem can be resolved by instructing students on how to break down enormous tasks into small bits of work. You can use a calendar to indicate when each smaller assignment is due and then place the smaller benchmark goals in the appropriate spots on the calendar.

Make it possible for students and professors to go back over what they’ve learned in earlier classes. This can be accomplished through an oral presentation or by a pair of students sharing what they have learned from the previous day.

A concept map or a mind map can also be used to organize and review information. This is frequently done in small groups of people. When taking notes, comparing and contrasting, or writing, concept maps are useful graphic organizers to have on hand. Students with executive function deficiencies may find graphic organizers particularly beneficial because it can be difficult to keep track of one’s thoughts and schedule one’s time effectively.

Interaction between the teacher and the students

The behavior of teachers is also crucial in the treatment of kids who have executive function problems. Teachers should check in with children who are experiencing difficulties frequently to provide support and discreet assistance when necessary. Students with disabilities can benefit from positive reinforcement and a caring approach, which can make a significant impact on their educational experience.


The goal of environment support is to provide an atmosphere in which children can flourish. Some simple strategies for improving executive function in students are as follows:

Make a daily agenda for yourself. When students are familiar with their routines and procedures, they benefit from the structure and regularity.
Visual supports such as posters that outline problem-solving stages and routines, as well as color-coded folders and calendars, are all useful in a classroom setting. In the book, underline important words and ideas.
Reduce the amount of clutter in the classroom and make sure that it is clearly defined.


It takes time for the executive function to reach its maximum development potential. And it progresses at a varied rate depending on the age of the child. Growing and changing While young children and teenagers mature and develop, the prefrontal cortex of our brains continues to expand and develop. It is feasible to improve executive functions in students with learning impairments by implementing classroom tactics and providing additional support to them.