A set of mental skills that help you get things done. These skills are controlled by an area of the brain called the frontal lobe. Executive function helps you: Manage time. Pay attention.
Teachers would all love have a dream class, but guess what? We can make every class a dream class!
Teachers have a tough job having to meet every learning style in the classroom, mark papers, create wonderful lessons that meet all the curriculum outcomes, keep 20-35 students engaged all at once, and the list goes on. To add to this one in four school age children have anxiety issues, one in six have a learning disability, and most recent studies are showing one in 45 children are being diagnosed with autism, and I am not even going to go into statistics of broken families, or how socioeconomic status contributes to the challenges of child behaviour.
When 80% of what children learn is through visual learning, it is a given that we need to use visuals effectively to help our children feel safe, confident and in control so that they can become the independent and successful learners they can be.
Visual cues communicate your expectations in a positive way, so please do post visuals, model the behaviour your expect, and be consistent!
Using visuals is a great way to meet the needs of all the learners in your classroom no matter what their learning style is. When we use visual aids correctly they become the tools to success in helping children to do what they are suppose to do without stress, without anxiety and without any nagging.
Effective visual aids become the tools to help you spend less time on tedious classroom management and more time doing what you need to, like teaching those great minds in your classroom! Keep in mind that using fun and creative visual strategies make your classroom the best possible place for your students to love learning and reach their full potential as the co-operative and independent learners.
Your classroom says a lot about you and your teaching style. It reflects your attitude towards the value and purpose of education. Everything that you display or don’t display says something about who you are professionally: the posters you put up, the empty walls, the pictures and colors you choose, even how your desks are laid out. It all gives an impression of what type of teacher you are to each person who enters your classroom throughout the school year.
Visuals are key in promoting healthy executive functioning, assisting self directed actions that a person takes to achieve their goals and solve problems. Here are three quick visual strategies to get your students to become independent effective learners:
1. Establish Routine With Visuals
Post a visual daily schedule, showing the shape of the day, in the front of your classroom that you review right away every morning so they know what to expect for the day. The predictability allows students to feel safe and less anxious. The predictability of routine is essential in fostering independence in children.
Using a visual daily schedule every day makes classroom life so much easier. Instead of constantly dealing with stopping and starting, you are able to build momentum and spend time on teaching instead.
2. Create Less Dependence And More Self-Direction
As an example of assisting with executive functioning, instead of students repeatedly coming up to you, or raising their hand while you are teaching, just to ask to go to the bathroom, have two pump bottles of antibacterial soap each labeled with a large label brightly and clearly stating: “Girl’s Bathroom Pass” and “Boy’s Bathroom Pass”. Keep both pump bottles on your desk.
Instruct students that if they need to go to the bathroom, instead of disrupting the class they just have to take a look on the teacher’s desk and see if the bottle is there. If it is they quietly get the bottle and put it on their desk to indicate they have gone to the bathroom.
This way the teacher can simply look over the classroom desks and see who is not in the room – and know they are in the bathroom. When the student gets back, they go to their desk and use the antibacterial sanitizer, then return the bottle to the teacher’s desk.
3. Celebrate Success and Achievement
Give your students a sense of pride and inspiration by finding creative and beautiful ways to display their work around the classroom. Children love seeing their names up around the room. When children feel that their efforts are acknowledged and someone has taken an interest in their work, they will naturally want to work harder.
Setting up a visual classroom does take time but the outcome of happy and independent learners is worth every effort!