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The emphasis on Executive Functioning, especially in educational settings, is the recognition that being able to ‘think about thinking,’ is a necessary skill for being a successful adult. People in past generations developed these skills, largely as a byproduct of how they were raised in their homes, neighborhoods, and communities. We now have to be more deliberate about teaching executive functioning skills, since our culture doesn’t require as much future planning, with our instant access to each other.
The six components that are typically required for Executive Functioning are Attention; Action; Task; Information; Emotion, and Effort. We need to use our minds to pay attention to the issue, any action that is required uses our bodies, planning is needed for the task, we need our memory to retain the information, emotion refers to our mood, and effort references our level of motivation.
Planning a party would be a task that requires executive functioning. It would require using your mind to come up with a way to invite guests, have food and drink, and provide a nice environment for the party. Think of all the different tasks that are necessary for this event to be a success. You have to be motivated to put in the effort, time, and money to entertain. It would not be surprising for teenagers today to just send out a text, and call that having a party! Teaching our children how to plan and follow through is important for parents to do, and is an important life skill. Success in academic settings, as well as the work place, often requires an ability to use executive functioning skills.
The Brain’s Executive Functioning