I just read a very interesting article in Newsweek: Executive Functions: The School Skill That May Matter More Than IQ. A few quotes:
- “But recent advances in psychology and brain science are now suggesting that a child’s ability to inhibit distracting thoughts and stay focused may be a fundamental cognitive skill, one that plays a big part in academic success from preschool on. Indeed, this and closely related skills may be more important than traditional IQ in predicting a child’s school performance.”
- “EF (executive functions) comprises not only effortful control and cognitive focus but also working memory and mental flexibility the ability to adjust to change, to think outside the box.”
- “When the teacher holds up a circle they clap, with a triangle they hop, and so forth. The kids are taught to talk themselves through the mental exercise: “OK, now clap.” “Twirl now.” This has been shown to flex and enhance the brain’s ability to switch gears, to suppress one piece of information and sub in a new one. It takes discipline; it’s the elementary school equivalent of saying “I really need stop thinking about next week’s vacation and focus on this report.”
The main points: executive functions are crucial for success in life, AND they can be trained. I couldn’t agree more with the article in that cognitive training should be part of the education curriculum and receive more research dollars to determine exactly how to best do so.
I read another very interesting article on Alzheimer’s Disease. Which may look like a completely different topic than the one above…but please bear with me. [Read more…] about Executive Functions, Education and Alzheimer’s Disease