Have a structured predictable classroom schedule, as much as possible. Cognitive flexibility is being able to flex a brain muscle and push the curtains aside and look out the window toward a more interesting conversation topic. Having these “mind blocks” doesn’t make you less intelligent; it just means that you haven’t learned how to approach problems differently. Cognitive flexibility is also important in our social interactions with students. Many of us just stay in the mill pond or go farther down the rabbit hole rather than stepping back and trying to sway things in a more interesting direction. “Flexible thinking allows us to come up with ways to tackle problems,” says education writer Peg Rosen. The quicker you’re able to shift from one perspective to another, the greater your cognitive flexibility. Rather than react with negativity to the student who is unmotivated , a cognitively flexible educator will look for the root causes of the student’s behaviors and work to find solutions. This is another fun and engaging way to challenge cognitive flexibility. Developmental cognitive flexibility can be delayed, but it can also be taught and developed at home and in the classroom. It demonstrates using the same materials to do something different. But other kids who learn and think differently can also struggle with flexible thinking and executive function. The final step is to show how you are taking steps to help students with low cognitive flexibility, while encouraging them to grow their skills at the same time. Cognitive flexibility refers to the ability to shift attention between task sets, attributes of a stimulus, responses, perspectives, or strategies (Miyake et al., 2000; Zelazo, 2015). Trouble with these skills is common in kids with ADHD. It’s opposite, cognitive rigidity, causes us to hold on to outmoded ideas, even when new information proves those ideas wrong. People who are cognitively flexible are … There are multiple types of set shifting, but they all require the ability to let go of one idea to consider another. Cognitive Flexibility is a critical skill for living in today’s fast paced society where demands on a person often change. “It’s grounded by our goals and aspirations and a balance between control and spontaneity. Using positive surprises in the classroom can support and encourage cognitive flexibility too, writes Meghan Fitzgerald at early childhood education platform, Tinkergarten. color of an object) to another (e.g. Blogger Nicole Day, founder of the blog Raising An Extraordinary Person, encourages parents (and teachers) to create new rules for games. Cognitive flexibility is required in multiple ways throughout the school day. Cognitive Flexibility Training and Activities. This involves being able to take different perspectives, shift priorities and redirect attention from one thing to another. Flexible thinking is part of a group of skills called executive function. Images by: qimono, Graham Oliver/©123RF.com, Goran Bogicevic/©123RF.com, Positive_Images. Kids who struggle with flexible thinking often have trouble coping with change. Students can learn about wordplay and how one word can have multiple meanings. Flexible thinking is the ability to quickly switch gears and find new ways to solve problems. August 20, 2019 by SharpBrains _____ Ready to test your concentration powers and cognitive flexibility? For example, the Research Institute for Learning and Development shared some humorous examples of students misreading directions because they only focused on one word or one particular meaning of the word. Cognitive flexibility refers to the ability to transition thoughts between multiple concepts or perspectives. She assigned students to one of two sides and asked them to create a marketing campaign in favor of their side. While most people think they practice cognitive flexibility, many actually experience several blocks or problems which they don’t recognize. As a teacher, you likely see students struggle with cognitive flexibility, no matter what grade you teach. Sometimes these are called “problems with flexibility” or “cognitive and behavioral rigidity.” Certainly these differences can get in the way of many day-to-day situations such as social interactions, transitioning to less preferred activities, managing differences/change, and flexible … Practice Thought Stopping. Quick! Although there are several specific executive function skills, cognitive flexibility is an area where many of my students struggle. Many of us just stay in the mill pond or go farther down the rabbit hole rather than stepping back and trying to sway things in a more interesting direction. They also share the food with others or store it for later, showing proof of significant social circles and future planning. Building the Skillsets for Cognitive Flexibility Students need explicit instruction and opportunities to practice the flexible thinking that will make the most of their brains' fertile adolescent development stage. Practice thinking creatively. For Toddlers and Preschoolers defined as the ability to switch one’s thinking (cognition) (or train of thought) as an adaptation to the demands of stimuli Try this classic brain teaser, fun for kids and adults alike. Luckily, there are a lot of fun ways we can teach children these skills — in fact, many of these are probably games you already play! Try this classic brain teaser, fun for kids and adults alike. Quick! “Understand that such occasional fuss is developmentally normal, may be willful, and flexibility develops with age and things change,” writes psychiatrist Mani Pavuluri, director of the Brain and Wellness Institute. Sometimes the only thing holding you back from levelling up in your profession is you. Michelle Liew at Learning Mind says being humorous and having a quick wit is a great way to develop cognitive flexibility. Will they clean up the milk and ask for a cup of water, or will they be upset over the lost milk for the rest of the day? If we think about the rats driving … This process is crucial for students’ ability to learn new concepts. The quicker you are able to switch or “shift” your thinking from one dimension (e.g. Cognitive flexibility is usually described as one of the executive functions. We all have our own unique mental blocks that hold us back sometimes. Say aloud what color you see in every word. Flexible thinking provides the foundation for creative brain processes. We make STEAM simple with 2 Ways to Code: with and without screens. One is to bang them against a tree, which is similar to the way they open coconuts. Slow processing speed can also play a role in being able to quickly switch gears and think of solutions. “Students who exhibit strength in cognitive flexibility and can handle transitions easily, can shift between subjects and tasks in stride, and may have success in tasks that require them to apply learning in one arena to problem solving in another context,” the team at C8 Sciences writes. The neural basis of cognitive flexibility has been studied during many periods of development, including early childhood. Jan 14, 2016 - Executive function is an umbrella term that includes a variety of brain processes that help students to carry out goal-directed behaviors to complete a task (ie., following multi-step directions). She uses the example of a deck of playing cards to explain cognitive flexibility. “Students need explicit instruction and opportunities to practice the flexible thinking that will make the most of their brains’ fertile adolescent development stage,” writes neurologist and educator Judy Willis. An unexpected afternoon of playing learning games or outdoor period for students can teach them that changes and surprises can be good. Furthermore, cognitive flexibility allows the individual to apply lessons from past mistakes and devise alternative strategies (Anderson, 2002). Science writer Peter Hess says chimpanzees, who eat tortoises, use different strategies to crack open shells. The person might not realize they are stuck, but their brain is sending all kinds of warning bells about a topic or situation. Do you have students in your classroom you can’t pull away from a task? For example, the Canadian site LD@school, part of the Learning Disabilities Association of Ontario, has a module to help teachers understand how to work with students with low cognitive flexibility. Cognitive flexibility allows students to combine ideas and concepts creatively and to integrate major themes with details. Even her advanced students thought it was considerably harder and more frustrating to have to think in a different way to defend a side that they had previously spent 20 minutes building arguments against. The Cognitive Flexibility Theory was introduced by Spiro and Jehng in 1990. They stated that cognitive flexibility is the ability to restructure knowledge in order to adapt and make use of it in different settings and situations. cognitive flexibility: the ability to adapt when rules or circumstances change You can probably understand why those are important for, well, pretty much everything we do! Let’s use household chores as an analogy for cognitive flexibility. 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