Dear Academic Approach Families and Colleagues:
Today, we focus on special considerations as we we continue this week’s theme of executive functions, a set of behavioral skills related to the work of planning and prioritizing that are essential for academic success. Once again, our colleagues at Psychoeducational Resource Services, Peter Rastrelli, Tonya Gall, and Josh Price, have contributed the following:
Are there differences to expect based on ages, and if so, what should we be aware of?
Absolutely. While these skills are always developing, those middle to high schoolers can be a bit harder to work with…that said, the younger students will probably need more 1:1 support, at least getting started.
- Break down tasks into manageable pieces and then let them work independently of the pieces. With the younger student, help initiate the task but then back off. This gives them space to grow and also teaches patience.
- While all students seem to enjoy connecting, it seems the older students are eager to see familiar faces. Encourage them to connect with the teachers or mentors. Even connecting with a peer can be motivational and productive.
Find out what the teacher-student contact options are. Schools are making a significant effort to keep students and teachers connected. Try having your student create a list of questions they can ask at the same time rather than each time a question comes up. They may even figure out an answer before asking for help. But getting the question down is what’s key.
What about students with special needs?
It’s important to do what’s possible to maintain the progress that was being made. We know that students with special needs or IEPs are among the most vulnerable at this time.
Find out if there were specific programs that were being used for reading, math, or whatever area, and what can be used at home. Continue to work collaboratively with your school team and private team if you happen to have one. Reach out to the professionals to monitor the student’s progress. Some of this can be done with video conferencing.
Be extremely positive. When students apply a new strategy with success, point it out specifically (“I like the way…..”). A great question to ask is, “How exactly did you do this?” It allows you to better understand of where they are cognitively and helps them internalize their own strategy, which will create a greater likelihood of repeating the desired behavior(s).
When a student asks for help, resist the urge to correct everything. Mistakes are part of the learning process. Remember students don’t turn in perfect work at school, and they should not as we acquiesce to this new e-learning setting.
Tomorrow, we’ll post our video interview with Dr. Peter Rastrelli.
Matthew Pietrafetta, Ph.D., Founder &