The starting point is Core Beliefs
Ensuring positive core beliefs is fundamental to helping individuals achieve successful lives.
For example Adele Diamond grew up believing she was tall, but in reality she is quite short. She said it wasn’t until she was in her twenties that she realised she was shorter than average. How much harder is it then for a young person to change a negative image of themselves?
Imagine the conscious mind as a 40 bit processor, and the sub-conscious mind as a 40 million bit processor. Creating new, self-supporting beliefs is like installing new software programmes which then change the printout of your life.
The Executive Function of the brain is like the CEO of a large company. Executive functions are a cluster of skills, which all contribute to an individual’s ability to achieve success. By teaching students executive functions we can help them maximise their potential.
While definitions of executive function vary slightly, and the concept is still evolving, there is general agreement on the three core functions as follows:
Working memory includes the ability to hold information in the mind, and working on it. The ability to do mental arithmetic, make mental and visual connections, plus knowing what and what not to do in a given situation, are functions of working memory.
Improving working memory helps develop reasoning, along with problem solving abilities, and planning. In social interactions, it helps individuals in taking turns in group activities, or re-joining a group after an interruption. Reasoning ability is developed as part of higher level working memory.
Inhibitory or Impulse Control
Self-control, discipline, and selective attention are all components of inhibitory control. Inhibitory control involves resisting the temptation to over-indulge, or act impulsively.
Self-control includes i) the ability to control negative thoughts and memories, ii) the ability to stay focused on one task and not be distracted, iii) the ability to control and discipline yourself e.g. when angry, rushed or frustrated. Self-control is determined by understanding, internalising, and inhibiting the impulse to break rules. Instructions and rules need to be clearly articulated so they are easy for students to understand, remember and follow.
Students also need to experience success in carrying out the activities. Because inhibitory control is disproportionately difficult for young children, it will be the main emphasis of the Teacher’s Manual.
Cognitive or Mental Flexibility
This is the ability to ‘think outside the box’, that is, view things from different perspectives. Improving cognitive or mental flexibility helps develop the ability of trying different strategies to solve a problem, or applying different rules in different settings. The ability to switch between tasks, plus multi-tasking are examples of cognitive flexibility. Problem solving is developed as part of higher level cognitive flexibility. (Adele Diamond op.cit. 2012).
Cognitive flexibility builds on working memory and inhibitory control. Being flexible involves being able to take advantage of serendipity (though you had other plans), being able to switch between your own perspective and another’s, and being able to change your mind or course of action based on new information.
Higher Level Executive Functions
The development of the core functions provides the basis for reasoning, problem solving, planning and goal setting. There is little doubt that children who have high level executive functions are more successful in all areas of their lives.
By providing teachers with the tools to measure working memory and impulse control combined with class based activities and online games which have been proven to improve executive functions.
The research workshop trial will be delivered to RTLB in November 2013.
However, expressions of interest are welcomed from all RTLB, teachers and educators for places in the workshops planned for 2014
This model explains the philosophy and the future growth of our games.