Executive Function

Executive functioning is something we are asked about quite often. Many teachers will refer to executive functioning when discussing a child's ability to organize, plan, and focus.

What are the executive functions?

Executive functions are the skills that we use to organize and act on information. It is quite remarkable to note the number of skills that are used throughout learning with automaticity. These skills are constantly being utilized, combined, and flexed There are eight components of executive function that work together to process and make meaning of information that is learned. Each of those components are broken down into categories.

They are:

1. Attention

-Mental energy controls

-Processing controls

-Production controls

2. Temporal-Sequential Ordering

-Sequential awareness

-Sequential perception

-Sequential memory

-Sequential output

-Time management

-Higher sequential thinking

3. Spatial Ordering

-Spatial awareness

-Spatial perception

-Spatial memory

-Spatial output

-Material management

-Higher order spatial thinking

4. Memory

-Short term memory

-Working memory

-Long term memory

5. Language

-Receptive language

-Expressive language

6. Neuromotor Function

-Gross motor function

-Fine motor function

-Graphomotor function

7. Social Cognition

-Verbal pragmatics

-Social behaviors

-Political acumen

8. Higher Order Cognition

-Concept formation

-Critical thinking

-Creativity brainstorming

-Problem solving

-Rule use

-Reasoning and logical thinking

-Mental representation

Mel Levine writes extensively about these constructs and how they work together while learning. Over the next few weeks look out for tips and strategies for supporting learners with the components that make up executive functioning.


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