The New IQ?: Understanding and Teaching Executive Function Skills in and Out of the Classroom

Teaching young minds to think—clearly and efficiently—is a universal goal of parents and teachers alike. Thinking skills such as planning, goal setting, organizing, prioritizing, self-monitoring, accessing working memory, inhibitory (impulse) control and sustaining focused attention are critical to academic, vocational and relationship success at every age. Most important, the development of these skills allows youth to mature into independent, healthy and functional adults.

Despite the importance of these “executive function” skills, these thinking processes are not systemically taught at home or in schools and are not the focus of mainstream school curriculums. Rather, schools emphasize the content or the “what” of learning. Executive function skills are the “how” of learning. When a student has poor or underdeveloped executive function skills, they can appear disorganized, unprepared and unmotivated. By providing explicit instruction in executive function processes, parents and teachers can significantly elevate the thinking abilities in their children and students.

Learning Objectives

  1. Participants will learn what constitutes an executive function skill and where these thinking processes happen in the brain.
  2. Participants will be exposed to the Top 7 Skills for School and Life Success and will be provided with practical tools for identifying and assessing executive function abilities in their children and students.
  3. Participants will be introduced to a variety of exercises and techniques to directly teach the Top 7 Skills to children at every developmental level, pre-school through college.


"Before tonight I had never heard of the executive functions. I agree, it is absolutely imperative to have these skills." 
—Participant at Calvert County Public Schools, Calvert County, MD

"This is the first time I’ve been to a training and never got bored. I thoroughly enjoyed learning about executive functions skills and I also enjoyed the presenter." 
—Participant at Punahou School District, Honolulu, HI

"Please take this workshop if you can, the information is valuable and can be used and put to practical use immediately and benefit all. Great energy, well presented and funny too."  
—Maria Nickelson, Loudon County Family Services, VA

"Thank you for simplifying the information. It helps with making all the concepts to be meaningful and memorable. I enjoyed learning about how the brain works and the strategies that can be used to help children learn the executive functions." 
Participant at Alamo Area Library, San Antonio, TX