Building Executive Brain Functions in Students

The role of teacher is changing rapidly in our educational community.  Teachers are not simply giving information that students can learn. For example, in a brain-based classroom (based on the latest neuroscience), we are now evaluating how teachers may help students understand more about their own learning processes as they attempt to apply what they know to real life situations. How does the brain help students make decisions?

Isn’t learning about applying principles we experience?

Brain-based classroom
Teachers have the opportunity to encourage executive brain functions when mentoring students to apply what they learn. (Photo courtesy of

I think for each of us, learning is a more positive and meaningful experience when we are able to apply it to a specific problem or make a new discovery.  When teachers strive to help students use the “decision-making” parts of the brain, there is a notable difference in motivation and learning capacity.  In fact, teaching can take students to an entire new level when teachers help students develop their executive brain functions.

I will lean on Dr. Judy Willis to explain executive brain functions. She is a Neurologist/Teacher/Graduate School Education Professor and Author. Following is the link to her article from Edutopia entitled, “Three Brain-Based Teaching Strategies to Build Executive Function in Students.”

As you will see, Dr. Willis has a keen awareness of the role teachers can play in a brain-based style of teaching.

Brain-based teaching is a style of mentorship

I’ve always believed that education is at its best when it prepares students for life’s circumstances, dilemmas and situational decisions.  The mentorship that can be offered to students not only creates new neural networks for learning, but achieves the accompanying confidence they will be prepared to succeed in life.

I believe that is why we have that valuable mentoring role in their lives.

Gerry Vassar, President/CEO, Lakeside Educational Network


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