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Why do our students feel so anxious and stressed in school? How can we engage students in the  learning process by promoting self-understanding and teaching executive function strategies?

In this session, we will focus on approaches educators can use to promote metacognitive awareness, executive function, and social-emotional learning, processes that are critically important in every classroom. We will address approaches that build students’ motivation and self-confidence so that they make the effort to use strategies in their classwork, homework, and test preparation. We will also share examples from ResearchILD’s Motivation, Effort, and Strategy Use survey system, MetaCOG Surveys & Toolkit. This system  provides teachers with visual summaries of all students’ EF profiles along with recommended strategies for promoting goal-setting, flexible problem-solving, organizing, prioritizing, and self-monitoring. 

Throughout, attendees will learn practical strategies for promoting metacognitive awareness, flexible thinking, and executive function as part of the classroom curriculum. We will end with a discussion of the importance of these strategies for empowering students to find their own pathways to academic and life success.


Lynn Meltzer, Ph.D., is the President and Co-Founder of the Research Institute for Learning and Development (ResearchILD) in Lexington, MA. She is a Fellow and Past-President of the International Academy for Research in Learning Disabilities. She is the Founder and Program Chair of the Annual Executive Function and Learning Differences Conference which she has chaired for the past 38 years. For 30 years, she was an Associate in Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and an Adjunct Associate Professor in the Department of Child Development at Tufts University. Her 40 years of clinical work, research, publications, and presentations have focused on understanding the complexity of learning and attention differences. Dr Meltzer’s extensive publications include articles, chapters and books, most recently, Executive Function in Education: From Theory to Practice (2018), Promoting Executive Function in the Classroom (2010) and The Power of Peers in the Classroom: Enhancing Learning and Social Skills (2015), co-edited with Karen Harris. Together with her ResearchILD staff, she has developed SMARTS, an evidence-based Executive Function Curriculum for elementary, middle, and high school students (www.smarts-ef.org). She has been an invited speaker at numerous national and international conferences, including the International Association for Cognitive Education conference in South Africa. She has been honored with a number of awards including the Council for Learning Disabilities Outstanding Research Award and the Innovative Program of the Year Award from CHADD (Children with Attention Deficit Disorders).


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