Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Exercise your Metacognitve Approach: The Planting, Tending, & Harvesting of Mindsets

One's executive function skills are located in the prefrontal lobe (your forehead area), and are responsible for the manipulation, orchestration, and self-management of one self, in a goal directed manner. Commonly referred to as the brains CEO, it is responsible for a host of skills that range from the ability to focus and sustain attention, to exercising self-control, or using your foresight to anticipate and predict outcomes.

As a Special Educator and an Executive Function Skills Coach, it behooves me to introduce strategies, activities, and tools that are accepted by my students, and readily integrated into their daily life with the support of their parent(s).  Regardless of what their diagnosis is, I divorce my thought processes from any label that may have been placed on a child or adolescent.  I do not work with ADHD kids, or EF skill deficit kids, likewise, I do not work with autistic kids. I hope I never do. I do work with kids who have been diagnosed with ADHD, and I work with kids who may be diagnosed or perceived to have executive function skill deficits.

It is important for my coaching mindset that I see the person first, and any diagnosis, possible disability, or special gift and talent second. I strongly believe that this just said is a major stumbling stone for many related service professionals who service children. Labels are restrictive, confining, and actually sign one up for a specific mindset starting point. That is to say, expectations have an overwhelming effect on  the actions a parent or professional chooses to take when coaching, raising, or instructing a child.

Banking on the understanding, and experiential knowledge that our brains have plasticity, or the ability to be rewired and physically reshaped, I move forward in my coaching process by planting, tending, and harvesting mindset seeds in myself, my students, and their parents.  You see, a very large ship can be turned by the slight shift in a rudder position. The captain at the helm just has to move the wheel slightly one way to effectuate dramatic directional trajectories.  Likewise, the most entrenched mindsets in children can be shifted through metacognitive conversation that is built upon a trusting, caring relation between the Coach and student.

All this said, their are countless numbers of children who's mindsets are sustained in unproductive ways, many a times, solely by the instructional mindset of the teacher, coach, or parent. The same adults can be helped to be mentally flexible with a shift in their mindset, outlook, or perspective.
 See the following metacognitive video that explores the 'growth mindset.' Full disclosure: the 'growth mindset' is not the 'end all, be all' of mindsets. The video is meant to get your 'feet wet' and the cogs  in your mind moving.

The second link is a short post by Tim Ferris, author of the 4 Hour Work Week. It quickly touches upon one quick strategy that can be used to re-build or sustain rapport with your child or student. Try it.

"Expectations are the vehicle that influence Actions and lead to Results."

Coach Bill

For more, go to http://www.CoachBill.US
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