They also share the food with others or store it for later, showing proof of significant social circles and future planning. She uses the example of a deck of playing cards to explain cognitive flexibility. In other words, a similar solution is applied to a new situation. A good example of this would be an online discussion forum. If you want specific activities, scripts, and coping strategies that help improve your students’ flexibility, Unstuck & On Target! As a teacher, you likely see students struggle with cognitive flexibility, no matter what grade you teach. Work to the Abilities of Your Classroom. Simply put, cognitive flexibility reflects how we approach new challenges, tasks, and problems each day — and the healthy mindset with which we overcome obstacles. For example, the Research Institute for Learning and Development shared some humorous examples of students misreading directions because they only focused on one word or one particular meaning of the word. The author of this article is the chief content officer at Edutopia. Few people actively seek out to live a life full of confirmation bias. You can access the poster here (and a copy is attached to this post). 3. If you are inflexible, you might find that students are unable to follow exactly what you are trying to teach them, as it isn’t suited to their specific needs. You may be surprised which of your students fixate on problems and are less willing to accept change. Plus, clean classrooms emphasize flexibility because it’s easier to move furniture and adapt to learning needs at a moment’s notice when you don’t have to clear clutter out of the way. So what are the first steps toward supporting flexibility in your classroom? There are at least five ways in which a teacher can respond to the student's needs for affirmation, contribution, power, purpose, and challenge. Make it interesting. “However, when it is overactive, there is a tendency for people to get stuck.”. Beach even recommends Minecraft as a tool because kids have to think creatively, use materials provided to them, and place themselves in a fantasy world. Teachers who foster cognitive flexibility early on can prepare students to think creatively and overcome mental roadblocks in the future. Developmental cognitive flexibility can be delayed, but it can also be taught and developed at home and in the classroom. Flexibility isn’t always an easy thing to develop–but as Lynn Cannon and her colleagues stress in their book Unstuck & On Target!, it’s also a skill that can be explicitly taught. Here they are in an infographic. […] on “8 Ways To Support Your Students’ Flexibility”. She assigned students to one of two sides and asked them to create a marketing campaign in favor of their side. To get a deeper understanding of UDL, it also helps to see how it’s different from a traditional approach to education. In practice, “getting stuck” means becoming more argumentative, worrying, automatically saying “no” to things, and getting upset when something doesn’t go their way. by Greg Barrett, M.Ed, REFP / Educational Planner. As you start to explore concepts of cognitive flexibility and bring them into the classroom, it may be difficult to discuss this life skill with your students or their parents. More importantly, it can also be taught to students who are very rigid in their thinking and in their views of the world. A study examining the impact of cognitive intervention for at-risk children in preschool classrooms found that children who received such intervention for one to two years significantly outperformed their peers. While shared in fun, these images can start a valuable discussion about how someone might take an assignment literally, in the manner of Amelia Bedelia, or have trouble thinking about ideas in different ways. ROBERT JOAN INTRODUCTION Educators in the 21st century realize that students entering the classroom today are much different from those who have come before. 2. © 2020 Ozobot & Evollve, Inc. United StatesPatent Nos. Examples of this would include a classroom setting, or a real-time video conference. Do you have students in your classroom you can’t pull away from a task? Other examples of UDL in the classroom include letting students complete an assignment by making a video or a comic strip. study concludes that flexible learning in classroom helps to promote quality education. Having flexibility in the ESL classroom is essential as things can often change or be altered at the last minute. For example, at work teachers regularly: encounter a diverse range of learners to whom they must respond appropriately face unexpected situations in the classroom … Simply put, the ACG is the part of the brain used for shifting attention. 1. Required fields are marked *. For example, in the game of Chutes and Ladders, you can reverse the rules where you slide down the ladders and go up the chutes. They recommend maintaining a structured classroom schedule and minimizing change so as not to overwhelm students. All students and the instructor are gathered together in a physical space or online space, asking questions of each other working together in real-time, with no delay. 1. Flexibility in the Classroom By DRA Architects. With various teaching methods, it’s essential for teachers … Classroom management was a huge struggle for me when I first started teaching. If used properly, flexible classrooms produce better academic outcomes among primary school children than more traditional, static classroom designs. As an educator, you need to give students opportunities to practice their cognitive flexibility in a safe and structured environment. Challenge Students to Play Games Differently. Cognitive flexibility and other executive function skills are crucial to success both in classroom settings and life. Cognitive flexibility is one of the most important qualities that students AND teachers can cultivate. This is a key … Blogger Nicole Day, founder of the blog Raising An Extraordinary Person, encourages parents (and teachers) to create new rules for games. Flexibility is a bit like fluency in that we are working with ideas, but while fluency is about generating as many ideas as possible, flexibility is about generating ideas that are different from each other. It demonstrates using the same materials to do something different. For example, they might revise the schedule, shortening classes, to create a block of time for a guest speaker or a home base activity. Staying ahead of this by being flexible is what makes a great teacher. • Improvisation, which is typically associated with performance arts, can be incorporated into the classroom to help teach students mental flexibility (Flanagan, 2015). Engaging Cognitive Flexibility Classroom Activities Show Creative Examples of Cognitive Rigidity. While most people think they practice cognitive flexibility, many actually experience several blocks or problems which they don’t recognize. Cognitive Training Tips: 1) When teaching new concepts or skills, try to represent the content in more than one way. Another way in which flexibility is beneficial is that it allows educators to respond to different learner abilities, needs and interests. Cognitive flexibility is part of our nature, but it can also be learned. “When the ACG works well, it allows us to focus on something, let go, and then shift to focus on something else,” Amen writes. Vary the speed & tone of your voice to keep your voice interesting to listen to. Thinking on your toes and being able to adapt and adjust on the spot are marks of an experienced and impacting teacher. Project your voice to be easily heard and to show confidence in what you are saying. Everyone has different abilities, but teachers can create a classroom in which all students can improve their cognitive flexibility. 8 Ways to Support Your Students’ Flexibility, Executive Function – Flexibility – Dr. George Hall Public School, Quotes On Positive Peer Pressure | All Motivation, Visual Learners: How to Teach Them | Educomics. - Derald Wing Sue, Ph.D. Ozobot is a robotic platform that empowers coding & STEAM education for K–12. Keep classroom space flexible, in order to be ready to accommodate changes in educational … This executive function curriculum was developed to help kids with autism improve flexibility, but the suggestions below work for any student struggling with this skill. Thinking flexibly is a valuable skill because it allows you to get out of a These activities will also release serotonin, dopamine, and endorphins in the brain, making students feel happy and dispelling fears and anxiety around change. Research Institute for Learning and Development. This is another fun and engaging way to challenge cognitive flexibility. In the classroom, teachers can ask students to create board games and then share them with their peers to play the games in a different way. Maintain eye contact with the audience and stand up straight to pro… Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. “Students need explicit instruction and opportunities to practice the flexible thinking that will make the most of their brains’ fertile adolescent development stage,” writes neurologist and educator Judy Willis. Teachers can share this example as a way to show cognitive flexibility outside of the classroom — and even the human world. Fluency, flexibility, originality, and elaboration can be thought of as the cornerstones of creative thinking. In any given class, you will have students who get excited about new challenges and topics alongside those who struggle to cope with these changes. Aim for 4 praises for every 1 correction. Younger learners can practice sorting (similar to the playing card example used earlier), while teens can start journaling and volunteering to collect their thoughts and face new situations. Alternatively, teachers can extend the children’s learning beyond the face-to-face classroom environment – for example, through the use of difference learning technologies, media and IT. As in those contexts, I worked hard with these Teaching Writing Skills students, being more personable and direct than I had been in any classroom in years to keep them awake, aware, and engaged. It's essentially a full … We use cognitive flexibility daily, even if mostly on a micro level. If you are responsible for learners from a mix of backgrounds, or older students who study part-time, and have other work and family commitments, flexibility should certainly be one of the central tenets to your … You’ve been added to our mailing list and will now be among the first to hear about new arrivals, big events, and special offers. The team at CogniFit provide some examples of how cognitive shifting can help in various life situations. Verbal techniqueshelp your audience understand what is being said. Keeping the classroom clean is a simple way to make students feel at ease, as messes and clutter can cause anxiety that deters student learning outcomes. These criterion are constantly changing, sometimes provided by the teacher themselves, the school district, or even at the state or federal level. They can be taught to see a situation, such as misusing a word, as something other than an error. has pretty much everything you need (plus a great foreword by John Elder Robison). Math: Ways to see 24 (practice and review order of operations, math facts), list things that are cylinders; Language Arts/Reading: brainstorm alternate word choice options, such as ways to say said, words that have a certain consonant cluster, words with negative connotations, onomatopoeias, etc. “Being able to see things in different ways helps us develop different strategies.”. While other students move easily between subjects, some stay rigidly focused on one idea, assignment, or problem. Make it fun. Michelle Liew at Learning Mind says being humorous and having a quick wit is a great way to develop cognitive flexibility. We all have our own unique mental blocks that hold us back sometimes. Using positive surprises in the classroom can support and encourage cognitive flexibility too, writes Meghan Fitzgerald at early childhood education platform, Tinkergarten. Students can learn about wordplay and how one word can have multiple meanings. This is the time when students often … Okay, struggle is putting it a bit nicely. "Being online allows you a lot of flexibility in how you choose to learn," Ms. Pillwein says. Once again, we'll examine five key teacher responses to student needs (see Figure 3.1). Having been a teacher and administrator before, approaches like … Images by: qimono, Graham Oliver/©, Goran Bogicevic/©, Positive_Images. Creative Fluency Examples. The next step is to be clear that challenges with cognitive flexibility are natural in many students, and issues at a young age will likely change over time. Start by explaining that humans aren’t the only ones that exhibit cognitive flexibility. For example, for a mealtime routine, children will know “I wash my hands, sit at the table, sing a rhyme with the class, eat my food, clean up, and brush my teeth.” A classroom routine should flow like a well-oiled machine. The ability to see the different ways of doing things and understanding when certain options are best displays cognitive flexibility. Flexibility in the classroom To provide flexibility within the classroom and the teaching strategies utilised, whilst meeting the learning needs of the students, is a challenge for all teachers due to the diversity of ability, interest, motivation and levels of empowerment of the students, including those with autism, thus the inclusive approach. Please pin and share the love! “Understand that such occasional fuss is developmentally normal, may be willful, and flexibility develops with age and things change,” writes psychiatrist Mani Pavuluri, director of the Brain and Wellness Institute. (Flexibility may or may not lead to ORIGINALITY.) The final step is to show how you are taking steps to help students with low cognitive flexibility, while encouraging them to grow their skills at the same time. Teacher Sarah Rudell Beach at Left Brain Buddha has developed games for cognitive flexibility at every learning level. As much as possible, create a teaching style that incorporates various types of learning styles so […], Your email address will not be published. The person might not realize they are stuck, but their brain is sending all kinds of warning bells about a topic or situation. 9,486,713 and 9,545,582. Keywords: Learning, Flexible Learning, New Learning Design, Classroom Processes, Quality Education. Here are some examples of exercises that c an be adapted to different subjects: o One-Word Story, where students create a story one word at a time. Most leading education organizations recommend some combination of assertiveness and flexibility in classroom management. The ARMA International Center for Educationoffers the following guidelines to express the focus of interactive educational teaching styles: 1. (Like this topic? 2. Blogger Nicole Day, founder of … Whereas students often lose interest during lecture-style teaching, interactive teaching styles promote an atmosphere of attention and participation. Saga Briggs, who researches and writes about cognitive models of writing pedagogy, explained several factors that can challenge our cognitive flexibility and limit the ways we think about problems. Educator Jennifer Warren saw this with her senior English class.   This helps create a learning environment where the students feel respected by their teacher and, in turn, reciprocate that respect—ultimately reducing undesirable behaviors. A child can sort the cards in a few ways: by color, number, or suit. However, knowing these challenges to your cognitive flexibility exist can help you overcome them. As you well know, telling is not teaching and listening is not learning. “Students who exhibit strength in cognitive flexibility and can handle transitions easily, can shift between subjects and tasks in stride, and may have success in tasks that require them to apply learning in one arena to problem solving in another context,” the team at C8 Sciences writes. Start Small and Set Achievable Student Goals. Implementing UDL takes time. Use a high ratio of praise to corrections. The best routines have a clear beginning and end. Do you use this book already? While the concept of cognitive flexibility can be difficult for students to grasp, teachers can use fun ways to explain the concepts of “getting stuck” or focusing on the wrong information. Not all change is something to be afraid of. In sixth grade, they often use a schedule that shortens core blocks to create a flexible block of time after lunch. After twenty minutes, the students were asked to switch and defend the other idea — the one they first disagreed with. That’s why in a UDL … Having these “mind blocks” doesn’t make you less intelligent; it just means that you haven’t learned how to approach problems differently. Create Flexible Learning Environments. And as we will see later, they are not apart from curriculum and instruction, but they breathe life into it. We make STEAM simple with 2 Ways to Code: with and without screens. Teams can reorganize that scheduled block in numerous ways to allow for different uses of the time. This week is the last week of English camp. Types of Classroom Management Styles . UDL promotes flexibility in the learning environment. Make room for visual reflection. An unexpected afternoon of playing learning games or outdoor period for students can teach them that changes and surprises can be good. The takeaway: Flexibility, combined with characteristics like acoustics and air quality, has a real impact on student achievement. When asked to draw a plant cell, for instance, a student drew a flower sitting in jail — focusing on the criminal definition of the word “cell” instead of the biological one. Feel free to a… Examples of Microaggressions in the Classroom Microaggressions: everyday verbal, nonverbal, and environmental slights, snubs, or insults, whether intentional or unintentional, which communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative messages to target persons based solely upon their marginalized group membership. Encourage student participation. Tell us what you think in the comments–we’d love to hear about your experience! Physician and psychiatrist Daniel G. Amen, author of “Change Your Brain, Change Your Grades,” says that the area of the brain known as the anterior cingulate gyrus is often overactive in people who have low cognitive flexibility. Pause to gain attention, emphasize transitions in material, and allow students the opportunity to digest information. D.R. Reflective activities provide students with an opportunity to absorb … They are not separate from the learner's needs but are outcroppings of those needs. Learning is easier when kids and their teachers can tolerate change, open themselves to new experiences, solve problems creatively, and take the unexpected in stride. For example, the Canadian site [email protected], part of the Learning Disabilities Association of Ontario, has a module to help teachers understand how to work with students with low cognitive flexibility. She explains that the young brain is more open to exploration, passion, and interest than older brains. Here are 8 guidelines to get you started, adapted from Unstuck & On Target! There is actually a psychological strategy to introducing fun games and humorous examples of cognitive flexibility as an engaging way to broach a complex subject. Flexible Work Spaces. Recently, in a professional working group, my peers and I were asked to respond to a prompt: How do teaching and learning approaches like Project Based Learning and Multiple Intelligences impact school design? Students who have difficulty with cognitive flexibility may have trouble transitioning from recess to the classroom – or even between academic tasks. Even her advanced students thought it was considerably harder and more frustrating to have to think in a different way to defend a side that they had previously spent 20 minutes building arguments against. It may or may not have escalated to the point that I found myself crying in the back hallway because I just couldn’t face my first period class. For classroom seating, Collins also uses: Couches Chairs Bunk beds Canoes Fund Your Flexible Classroom: The DIY Approach Teachers at Albemarle use these low- to no-cost strategies to furnish their classrooms: Seasonal purchase: Teachers purchase furniture from college students the week that they leave campus after graduation or for the summer. She uses examples from her own childhood: a cousin spreading butter the wrong way, her dad holding a pencil differently than she was taught, etc. They also encourage teachers to warn students about changes and provide ample time to move from one task to another. Science writer Peter Hess says chimpanzees, who eat tortoises, use different strategies to crack open shells. This reflects their level of cognitive flexibility. While the poster was designed for the classroom, the ideas […], […] Source @ […], […] as much as students need to be flexible when learning, educators must also learn how to be flexible with their teaching. Your email address will not be published. “Flexible thinking allows us to come up with ways to tackle problems,” says education writer Peg Rosen. Make it exciting. Will they clean up the milk and ask for a cup of water, or will they be upset over the lost milk for the rest of the day? These include: As you can see, many of our cognitive flexibility blocks are subconscious or unintentional. One is to bang them against a tree, which is similar to the way they open coconuts. These include: A new situation might be something small — like a milk carton spilling at lunch — but it requires students to think about how they should handle the situation and move on. Asynchronous = At different times. There’s something for every learner. Fortunately, cognitive flexibility can actually be a fun future-ready skill to develop in the classroom. Like the tips in today’s post? I ramped up the classroom intensity to the level I usually reserve for one- or two-day inservice workshops in which I need to instruct—and motivate—busy and often tired practicing teachers. U… Non-Verbal techniqueshelp your audience be receptive to what you are saying. As students learn this, they will better be able to cope with neutral changes or even negative changes in their lives. Flexibility: ability to look at something from a different angle or point of view, shifting to an opposing viewpoint, angle, direction, chronology, modality, putting yourself “in someone else’s shoes." They are not ancillary to teaching but are at the core of effective teaching. Let us know in the comments section below, and we’ll offer some specific activities in a future post!).

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