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Bend That Mind: Cognitive Flexibility

March 1, 2017

 

 

Think back to your own student years where you were required to switch from subject to subject every fifty minutes, translate a math word problem into a numeric equation, then recognize a theme in a novel and write an essay using supporting details. All of these situations require students to shift from one way of thinking to another within a relatively short period, how exhausting! Those who struggle with cognitive flexibility are more likely to hit learning roadblocks and have difficulty finding alternate solutions to those problems.

  • Give students the opportunity to shift their thinking by announcing transitions ahead of time, following a set schedule, and including them in decision-making processes about schedules and routines.

  • Stretch their cognitive flexibility by asking children to think outside the box. Classroom warm-up times are perfect for challenging thinking with shifting activities including: visual word puzzles; optical illusions; puns, jokes, and riddles; and games like Spot It or even some strategy-based video games.

  • Always guide students in making connections between big ideas and details. Some of us are bottom up thinkers and others are top down, either way, recognizing the interconnectedness of themes and details across subjects is essential to learning.​

 

"Building Executive Functioning Skills throughout the School Year." HelpTeachingcom RSS. 21 Mar. 2014. Web

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