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Cognitive Flexibility, a component of executive functioning, is the ability to think about multiple concepts, either at the same time or switching between them. Cognitive Flexibility can, for example, help readers make inferences, by incorporating new information as they are reading with their Background Knowledge. Cognitive Flexibility develops through childhood and has been shown to support both simple word reading as well as more complex sentence and passage comprehension.
Cognitive Flexibility can also be called attention shifting or task switching, which involves adaptively shifting away from one idea or component of a task and responding or attending to something new. We use Cognitive Flexibility to effectively adapt our behavior as we face changing environment and task demands. In school, students must consider and switch between different rules and strategies to complete learning tasks.
Cognitive Flexibility may help students simultaneously process the sounds and understand the meaning of each word when reading, as well allow students to flexibly use different reading strategies, such as re-reading or skimming, based on the goals of the task.
With this interactive technique, teachers help students become storytellers by listening and questioning.
When students explain their thinking process aloud, they recognize the strategies they use and solidify their understanding.
As students walk through stations working in small groups, the social and physical nature of the learning supports deeper understanding.
Setting overall goals, as well as smaller goals as steps to reaching them, encourages consistent, achievable progress and helps students feel confident in their skills and abilities.
In guided inquiry, teachers help students use their own language for constructing knowledge by active listening and questioning.
Imagining allows students to step back from a problem or task and think about it from multiple angles.
Literacy centers with reading games, manipulatives, and activities support learner interests and promote the development of more complex reading skills and social interactions.
Through short but regular mindfulness activities, students develop their awareness and ability to focus.
Brain breaks that include movement allow learners to refresh their thinking and focus on learning new information.
Research shows physical activity improves focus and creativity.
Maintaining consistent classroom routines and schedules ensures that students are able to trust and predict what will happen next.
Timers help students learn to self-pace and transition.
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