Supporting executive functions in the classroom and beyond

Training teachers to support students to strengthen their executive function skills is a core part of our mission because we know that these are the skills that underpin self-regulated learning. Executive function skills help learners to engage at school, develop independent study skills,  and manage their own behaviour. They also have a considerable impact on mental health and self-esteem.

Free profiling questionnaire for children in your care

What are executive functions?

Executive functions are a family of important mental processes, housed in the prefrontal cortex of the brain. Executive functions allow us to take time to think before acting; resist temptations; approach unanticipated challenges with flexibility, and stay focused.

 

Challenges with executive functions can impact every part of our lives and learning. Often mistaken for character flaws, such as laziness,  executive functions can impact our ability to regulate emotions, organise our belongings, plan and manage our time, prioritise what to work on first or collaborate with others.

MORE ABOUT EXECUTIVE FUNCTIONS

Executive functions skills and self-regulated learning

Executive function skills are the skills associated with the executive functions of our brain which help us to self-regulate

– Pay attention
– Remember things
– Organise tasks
– Manage time
– Think creatively
– Regulate our emotions
– Manage our impulses

 

Our approach gives educators and learners a specific language to discuss and develop these skills, in a supportive and integrated way.

Our Services for Schools and Educators

Our pedagogical approach* to developing executive function skills ensures that all learners develop self-regulated learning skills despite their learning differences. 

Teachers continue to teach the content of their lessons, but shift the language and feedback of their classroom to help all learners develop the structured metacognition they need to become lifelong self-regulated learners. 

Our teacher training has such a profound impact on educators’ understanding of learning and in turn their pedagogy that the best way to deliver this training is over 4 sessions spread over a school year. 

1: Introduction to executive function skills and neuroplasticity

2: Connect Phase – developing executive function skills literacy and understanding

3: Collaborate Phase – working with learners to create strategies which really work for them

4: Support Phase – reduce the need for 1:1 time with praised based executive function feedback

Our training is a hybrid online model.  The four modules have a self-study (online video-based) element and a 2.5-hour workshop element (usually held online).  

*Our training is based on the work of Canadian teacher and Psychologist Laurie Faith from the University of Toronto

Executive function coach training is for all professionals supporting young people in a 1:1 setting. Schools often send TAs, SEND staff and pastoral staff on our training. 

Trainee coaches learn about the neuroscience behind executive function challenges, key questioning techniques and our proven 3 step approach to helping young people embed new habits in their learning and behaviour.

Trainees leave with Level 1: Core Skills in Executive Function Coaching accreditation and with our support can progress further up the 4 levels and become Master Executive Function Coaches. The course covers 22 core standards and skills needed to start practising as an executive function coach.

Our 25-hour coach training is run over 5 consecutive weeks and follows a hybrid (self-study/workshop) format. 

1: Introduction to executive function skills and neuroplasticity

2: Coaching Skills – questioning and reflection skills used to motivate learners to change

3: Connect Phase – executive function language and empathy to get to the bottom of learner’s challenges

4: Collaborate Phase – working with learners to create strategies which really work for them

5: Support Phase – how to support learners to embed habits over the long term

Our training is a hybrid online model.  The five modules have a self-study (online video-based) element and a 2.5-hour workshop element (usually held online).  Workshops consist of: group discussions, activities, triad practice, independent reflection and peer group collaboration.  The course concludes with a graded open-book assessment.  

*Our training is based on the seminal book, ‘Coaching Students with Executive Function Deficits’ by Dr Peg Dawson and Dr Richard Guare and the authors of the book have helped us work on the content and accreditation. Based on our own professional expertise we have also integrated more of a focus on promoting and preserving student wellbeing and understanding of the UK education system.

We offer online & in person workshops which introduce staff to the concepts of neuroplasticity, executive functioning and how these concepts impact the teaching and learning that takes place in mainstream classrooms and well as in SEN settings. We cover:

– How emotions and executive functions interact and the impact on learning.

–  A new lens for understanding student behaviour and learning challenges. 

– A more sophisticated application of a growth mindset.

– The link between trauma and executive function development

– Our three step approach to supporting children with executive function challenges

Every participant receives a CPD accredited certificate of attendance. 

All of our trainers have extensive experience as teachers and work in the field of psychology and teacher training. 

At Connections in Mind, we are committed to raising awareness of executive functions and reaching teachers from all walks of life, from all corners of the globe. That’s why we have developed a series of easy-to-access online courses at very affordable prices.

Introduction to Executive Functions – 45-minute course (3 x 10 min. videos)

– Learn what executive functions are, the neuroscience behind them and the factors that affect our executive functioning.

– Look at what executive function challenges look like at school, in relationships and how they can impact behaviour at home.

– Understand how teachers should communicate with learners to support the development of these skills.

– Support young people to develop strong executive functioning through shared literacy, specific praise and co-regulation.

– Short quizzes to consolidate your learning.

45-minute course

– The difference between empathy and sympathy

– A brief look at the neuroscience and psychology behind empathy

– A simple three-step approach to using empathy in your classroom(s)

– Five pitfalls to avoid

– Real-life examples of the power of empathy at school

– A short quiz to consolidate your learning

As part of our commitment to working with all stakeholders who care for children we offer parent talks.  These online or in person talks introduce parents to an understanding of executive functions, developmental differences, and how executive function challenges can impact learning and behaviour.  We cover:

– How emotions and executive functions interact and the impact on learning and behaviour.

–  A new lens for understanding children’s behaviour and learning challenges. 

– A more sophisticated application of a growth mindset.

– The link between trauma and executive function development

– Our three step approach to supporting children with executive function challenges 

All of our trainers have extensive experience in work to develop strong executive functions.  They are all professionals in their own right working work the field of psychology, coaching, or teaching. 

Email us to for prices

Our Online Learning Courses