Executive Function Coaching
Students with language-based learning differences often have difficulty with executive functioning: mental control skills like organization, time management, planning, self-discipline, task initiation, and follow through, which together help us manage our lives. As part of Gow’s commitment to rethink the learning process, we teach executive function skills throughout the school experience. Some students need extra help, however. For them, we offer Executive Function Coaching (EFC).
An Individualized Program
Students meet one-on-one with their EF coach, generally weekly for 45 minutes and touching base more often. They set goals based on student needs, from organizing a backpack to planning for long-term projects. Students work on skill-building activities and develop strategies that they can own... on their own. The aim is not to do for students but to prepare them to do for themselves.
Though the heart of the program is the one-on-one relationship between coach and student, many community members contribute to student success. Coaches, teachers, advisors, dorm parents, and parents come together, first to identify students who might benefit from EFC and later to discuss progress and strategies that work.
Temporary Coaching, Permanent Results
EFC participants typically start, and finish, fast. Though working on executive function skills is a lifelong process, students who invest themselves see results quickly. Most “graduate” from the program after one or two marking periods, when they make Honor Scroll or get higher grades. But because EFC is individualized, it may be possible to continue coaching, meeting more or less often as needs warrant.
In addition to improving their life-management skills, students take a learning styles inventory and discuss self-advocacy with their coach. It all contributes to the development of independence and confidence across their lives. No wonder so many Gow alumni cite the role of strengthened executive functioning in college and career success.