EF Activities for Your Staff Meeting

In three staff meetings, you can establish a good working knowledge of EF among your staff and lay the groundwork for Activated Learning training. We recommend working through these activities before hosting an Activated Learning training workshop with your staff.

Activity #1 – What are EFs and how do they impact me, even in my adult life? 

Introduce your staff to the idea of EFs using this video. Next, remind you staff that we all have EF strengths and challenges. Finally, print this questionnaire for each of your staff. Fill it in together and share what you discovered about yourselves. Emphasize self-understanding, self-acceptance, and self-compassion. Let the laughter flow and encourage your staff to delight in their diversity.

Activity #2 – Learn to identify the EFs that may underlie student behaviours. 

Print several sets of these student behaviour cards. Organize your team into groups of 3-6 and give each group a set of cards. Suggest to your staff that much of the unexpected behaviour we see at school might be due to lagging EF skills. Soon, you will use the cards in an activity, but first, practise the key skill your colleagues will need to participate. Write, “Student doesn’t participate in group discussion” on the board and ask teachers to discuss the lagging EF skills that may be underlying this behaviour. Consider a wide range of potential reasons, such as:

  • Student missed initial instructions for discussion because of weak attention or working memory.
  • Student feels anxiety about speaking because of weak emotional control.
  • Student is inflexible and finds it difficult to explore ideas that are different from his or her own.
  • Student is having difficulty organizing his or her ideas on the subject.

After you’ve practiced this skill, ask your teachers to try to connect the student behaviour on each card to an EF. Their ideas can be placed on post-it notes and stuck directly on each card. Can they think of more than one EF that could explain each behaviour? Can they think of more than 2? The big idea is that some student behaviours may be attributable to almost any of the EFs, depending on the child. This activity can be done as a speed task, or as a slow and reflective task with a lot of contemplation. Follow-up with a group discussion.

Activity 3 – Reflect on the many ways you currently support EF. 

Print this survey for your teachers and have them fill it out from the perspective of a student in their classroom. Discuss: in which areas are you strongest and in which areas is your practise growing? What might be your next step to better support EFs? If desired the survey (or portions of it) can be shared with students. After students have provided feedback, teachers can open class discussions to share the patterns in the data, ask questions, and discuss ways to make the classroom even more EF-friendly.