Executive Function Coaching
Students with language-based learning differences often have difficulty with executive functioning: neurologically-based 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. However, some students need extra help. For them, we offer Executive Functions Coaching (EFC).
An Individualized Program
Students enrolled in the EFC program typically meet one-on-one with their EF coach once a week for 45-60 minutes. 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 the work for students, but to prepare the students to be able to do the work 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 a couple of marking periods, when they make Honor Scroll, or when they achieve the goals they created at the beginning of the program. Due to the fact that 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.