Teaching Students Executive Functioning Skills with Mitch Weathers, Leading Better and Growing Faster with Joe and T.J.
Mitch Weathers Joins Joe & T.J.
Mitch became a gifted teacher because he was a mediocre student. He rarely felt comfortable in the classroom. In fact, it took him 7 years for him to graduate from college.
Choosing to become a teacher, Mitch was fortunate enough to experience school as if it was happening all around him. He was unsure how to jump into his learning with confidence. There is a loneliness to experiencing your education as a passive object as opposed to an active subject.
From the moment he entered the classroom, Mitch relied on his personal experiences as a learner. He recognized that what we teach, the content or curriculum is secondary. We must first lay the foundation for learning before we can get to teach. In fact, unless students develop a solid foundation for learning it does not matter how great your teachers deliver content, or how emergent the technology, or even how engaging a lesson might be.
Mitch designed Organized Binder to empower teachers with a simple but research-backed strategy to teach students executive functioning skills while protecting the time needed for content instruction. The secret is found in establishing a predictable learning routine that serves to foster safer learning spaces. When students get practice with executive functions by virtue we set them up for success.
What You’ll Find in this Podcast Episode with Mitch Weathers
Mitch starts this episode with a clear definition of executive functioning, including debunking the myth that it’s only for special education students.
He says that executive functioning skills is an umbrella term with a bunch of other skills working toward executive functioning.
Mitch is surprised that more people aren’t talking about executive functioning because it’s so foundational for how students learn.
We can’t just focus on what students learn, we need to teach them how to learn. This results not just a bump in their grades but a big boost to their confidence.
Joe asked a very poignant question: why don’t we teach executive functioning skills, making our life as teachers even harder than it needs to be? Here is what Mitch says about time and Zone of Genius.
How are executive functioning skills best learned? Modeling and deliberate practice in a safe space.
T.J. brings up the point that executive functioning skills have to be part of our equity work. If EF helps to level the playing field for all students, they need to be embedded in our equity plans.
One key to helping students develop executive functioning skills is to have very predictable routines in the classroom. Mitch talked about the fact that consistency is a huge factor in students’ ability to learn.
Joe asks Mitch to outline how he teaches teachers to help students with these skills. Mitch mentions that a school-wide approach is important. Listen to what he says about shared learning routines.
The tenets of executive functioning: clarity, routine, and modeling.
It was a lot of fun to hear Mitch talk about “working memory” and how teachers can learn to use students’ working memory through routines at the beginning and end of every classroom period.
Don’t miss the discussion on what good instruction looks like!
- Success criteria
- Clear goals
- Structured reflection
Mitch brings up Marzano and the importance of exposing students to concepts multiple times.
The Leading Better & Growing Faster with Joe & T.J. Show
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