Paying Attention to Attention
Executive Function: Implications for Education by Philip David Zelazo, Clancy B. Blair, Michael T. Willoughby
National Center for Educational Research (NCER), Institute of Education Sciences, February 1, 2017
For all who commit to doing whatever it takes to assist young learners, here is a comprehensive overview of recent research on Executive Function (EF). It is well-documented that Executive Function has high impact on the depth, utility, and retention of learning, and that there are strategies to assist in furthering the development of EF in children, but this study gathers the relevant and current knowledge in one place and analyzes impact, implications, and future directions of EF work for teachers and administrators. Defining EF skills as the set of neurocognitive, attention-regulation skills involved in conscious, goal-directed problem solving, the authors bring EF into sharp focus based on assessment and longitudinal work that is now available. They proceed to look at programs that have evidenced increases in students’ capacity to pay attention, keep information in mind, think flexibly, and inhibit impulsive responding. In their conclusion, they argues for further EF research across elementary school grades to contribute to the best outcomes for each learner.