The executive function of the brain acts as an air traffic control system for children, guiding planes to easily take off and land, performing multiple tasks at once. It’s the area of the brain that contains crucial skills for learning and development. So crucial, in fact, that if it is properly nurtured it can create a lifetime foundation of cognitive development. Students with lower executive functions like cognitive flexibility will find that even the best lessons and textbooks fall short because when their processes are slower, they are unable to absorb information as quickly, leading them to struggle.
Cognitive flexibility is part of the executive function and it’s all about how adaptive your brain is to the changes that are going on around you. It works closely with the working memory and involves various skills we use in our day-to-day lives such as;
- Being creative
- Catching and correcting errors
- Changing perspective and being able to see multiple sides of a situation. This also means being more open to others’ points of view
- Shifting focus from one event or task to another
- Thinking about multiple concepts, simultaneously
Being able to manage various demands and switch between tasks easily is needed more often than you may think, for example, consider driving a car. Not only are you in control of driving the car itself, but you are concentrating on the ever-changing conditions in front of you. Making sure that you’re speeding up or slowing down to match other cars or conditions and watching for pedestrians, all while navigating to your destination and potentially talking to passengers too.
It requires you to keep varying levels of focus and performing all of the tasks well, even if they aren’t necessarily related. In the classroom, cognitive flexibility is also important for children too as it helps them to concentrate and retain the information they receive. Exams, for example, often contain tests with many unrelated questions and it’s cognitive flexibility that allows your child to draw upon different areas of learning to tackle them and shift between each question.
Training the core executive function skills early-on is the key to progression in later life and starting now can set your children up for success in the future. Research has shown that cognitive flexibility is linked to the interconnectivity in the brain, particularly in how information is received, so exercising these skills when your children are younger and their brains are still developing can have a positive effect and make it easier when they become adults.
One of the ways you can exercise cognitive flexibility and executive function is through the NeeuroFIT curriculum for children. NeeuroFIT aims to create a strong foundation of cognitive development to foster success in higher education and your children’s future. It involves simply spending 1 hour per week through a series of learning activities mixed with brain training games to play as well. Within the curriculum, you are able to track and analyze your child’s performance to see progress and get a report on how your child is doing.
An example of one of the games your child might play, particularly relevant to cognitive flexibility is; Multitask Master. In the game, you are required to complete one task and then switch over to the next, or in some cases, pay attention to one task while doing another, then returning to complete it. This happens within a time limit which challenges your child and helps improve the speed that they are able to switch between tasks.
Including gamification makes the curriculum more fun and engaging so that your child can build their cognitive foundation while fostering a love of learning long-term. To learn more about cognitive flexibility as part of the brain training programme, check out Neeuro’s Memorie app on our website and see how it can help your children.
Improve your child’s cognitive flexibility today and provide them with the skills that will help them throughout higher education and for the rest of their life.
Neeuro works globally with partners such as training providers, technology system integrators and schools to benefit children. Using modern solutions for cognitive training, cognitive skills such as attention and memory are emphasized and honed. NeeuroFIT aims to improve every child's academic success via better learning outcomes.
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