How can teachers contribute to develop executive functions

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How can teachers contribute to develop executive functions
PATRIZIA TORTELLA

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How can teachers contribute to develop executive functions

  1. 1. HOW CAN TEACHERS CONTRIBUTE TO DEVELOP EXECUTIVE FUNCTIONS THROUGH MOTOR ACTIVITY? Tortella P.*, Fumagalli G.+, Tessaro F.* * University of Cà Foscari (Venice – Italy) + University of Verona - Center for research on motor development in childhood - - Italy 24-25 October 2013 Bucharest, Rumania Transforming the educational relationship: intergenerational and family learning for the lifelong learning society 1
  2. 2. What are the executive functions? They are top-down mental processes needed when you need to concentrate and pay attention. The three core EFs are: Lehto et al. 2003; Miyake et al. 2000) 1) INHIBITION (inhibitory control) self-control (behavioral inhibition) interferente control (selective attention and cognitive inhibition) 24-25 October 2013 Bucharest, Rumania Transforming the educational relationship: intergenerational and 2 family learning for the lifelong learning https://www.google.it/search?q=marshmallow+test&hl=it&qscrl=1&rlz=1T4ACAW_itIT418IT418&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ei=iJ5mUtq_BYSO7QbF7oDwAQ&ved=0CAcQ_AUoAQ&biw=1239&bih=581 society
  3. 3. Core EFs 2) WORKING MEMORY (hold information in mind and mentally work with it) 3) COGNITIVE FLEXIBILITY (set shifting, mental flexibility, mental set shifting and closely linked to creativity): change perspectives or approaches to a problem 4) REASONING 5) PROBLEM SOLVING 6) PLENNING 7) ATTENTION (Collins & Koechlin, 2012) 24-25 October 2013 Bucharest, Rumania Transforming the educational relationship: intergenerational and family learning for the lifelong learning society 3
  4. 4. EXECUTIVE FUNCTIONS depend on a neural circuit in which the prefrontal cortex plays a fundamental role (Anderson, Jacobs & Anderson, 2008; Bialystok & Craik, 2005; Lunt et al., 2012). 24-25 October 2013 Bucharest, Rumania Transforming the educational relationship: intergenerational and family learning for the lifelong learning society 4
  5. 5. (Excerpted from Richard Restak’s The Brain, Bantam Books, 1984.) New York: Damage to areas of the prefrontal cortex reduces inhibitions and self-concern, causing an indifference to the consequences of one’s behavior. (Phineas Gage Brain) 24-25 October 2013 Bucharest, Rumania Transforming the educational relationship: intergenerational and family learning for the lifelong learning society 5
  6. 6. Why are the executive functions important? MARITAL HARMONY MENTAL HEALTH Executive functions are important to every aspect of life QUALITY OF LIFE SCHOOL SUCCES 24-25 October 2013 Bucharest, Rumania Transforming the educational Diamond A., (2013). Executive Functions, Annu. Rev. relationship: intergenerational and Psychol., 64,135-168. www.annualreviews.org. family learning for the lifelong learning society 6
  7. 7. • Poorer Efs are associated with obesity, overeating, Physical substance abuse and poor treatment adherence health Quality • People with better Efs enjoy a better quality of life of life School • Efs are more important for school readiness than are IQ or entry-level reading or math readine ss • Efs predict both math and reading competence School throughout the school years success 24-25 October 2013 Bucharest, Diamond A., (2013). Executive Functions, Annu. Rev. Rumania Transforming the educational Psychol., 64,135-168. www.annualreviews.org. relationship: intergenerational and family learning for the lifelong learning society 7
  8. 8. TRANING AND PRACTICE IMPROVE EXECUTIVE FUNCTIONS (Diamond & Lee, 2011, Klingberg, 2010) • CogMed ©computerized training (Bergman Nutley et al., 2011, Holmes et al., 2009; Klingbert et al., 2005; Thorell et al., 2009) • Task-switching computerized training (Karbach & Kray, 2009) • Taekwondo traditional martial arts (Lakes & Hoyt, 2004) • Add-ons to school curricula, Promoting Alternative Thinking Strategies (PATHS; Riggs et al., 2006) • Chicago School Readiness Project (CSRP; Raver et al., 2008, 2011) 24-25 October 2013 Bucharest, Rumania Transforming the educational relationship: intergenerational and family learning for the lifelong learning society 8
  9. 9. OTHER STUDIES • • • • AEROBICS (Davis et al., 2011, Kamijo et al., 2011) Mindfulness (Flook et al., 2010) Yoga (Manjunath & Telles, 2001) Tools of the Mind early childhood curriculum (Diamond et al., 2007) • Montessori curriculum (Lillard & Else-Quest, 2006) 24-25 October 2013 Bucharest, Rumania Transforming the educational relationship: intergenerational and family learning for the lifelong learning society 9
  10. 10. Can motor activity contribute to develop the executive functions? • Taekwondo traditional martial arts (Lakes & Hoyt, 2004) • AEROBICS (Davis et al., 2011, Kamijo et al., 2011) • Yoga (Manjunath & Telles, 2001) • Exercising bimanual coordination (Hillman et al., 2008; Chaddock et al., 2011) It is reasonable to think that sport might be very benefit, thanks to challenge EFs (requiring sustanined attention, working memory) (Diamond, 2011) 24-25 October 2013 Bucharest, Rumania Transforming the educational relationship: intergenerational and family learning for the lifelong learning society 10
  11. 11. How can teachers help children in improving their school readiness? FEW PRINCIPLES • The disadvantaged children benefit the most from any EFs intervention or program (Flook et al., 2010; Karbach & Kray, 2009; Lakes & Hoyt, 2004) • If difficulty doesn’t increase, the activity becomes boring and people lose interest. (Bergman Nutley et al., 2011; Holmes et al., 2009; Klingberg et al., 2005) • Repeated practice is necessary. The success dipends on the amount of time spent working on improving the skills (Klingberg et al., 2005) 24-25 October 2013 Bucharest, Rumania Transforming the educational relationship: intergenerational and family learning for the lifelong learning society 11
  12. 12. • At any age EFs can be improved, including in the elderly and in infants (Erickson & Kramer, 2009; Voss et al., 2011) • Bilingualism appears to accellerate EF developent during childhood and preserve EFs longer during aging (Bialystok & Viswanathan, 2009) • Exercise plus character development are efficacious in improving EFs (Lakes & Hoyt, 2004) 24-25 October 2013 Bucharest, Rumania Transforming the educational relationship: intergenerational and family learning for the lifelong learning society 12
  13. 13. SUMMARY POINTS • Emotional, social and physical needs are necessary for academic excellence; • Stress, sadness, loneliness, lack of sleep, lack of physical exercise couse suffering in prefrontal cortex and in EFs; • Good executive functions in children predict lifelong achievement, health, wealth and quality of life; • EFs are trainable and can be improved at any age by different approaches; • Repeated practice is the key. 24-25 October 2013 Bucharest, Rumania Transforming the educational relationship: intergenerational and family learning for the lifelong learning society 13
  14. 14. OPEN QUESTIONS • What can parents do to aid the development of EFs in their children? • Which are the best programs, what are the best doses, durations, frequency, how long do benefit last? • Which activities not yet studied might improve EFs? 24-25 October 2013 Bucharest, Rumania Transforming the educational relationship: intergenerational and family learning for the lifelong learning society 14
  15. 15. The playground, a space to improve motor skills and EFs • To improve health and motor activity is important to propose spaces and opportunity of activity. • Play in outdoor spaces improves te welfare of children (Ginsburg, K., R., 2007). • stay in green park improve childen’s attention and concentration skills. • Significative experiences depend on frequency, intensity and duration of motor activity (Klingberg et al., 2005). 24-25 October 2013 Bucharest, Rumania Transforming the educational relationship: intergenerational and family learning for the lifelong learning society 15
  16. 16. • Child perception of difficult in free or structured motor activity affects on the level of his motivation and self efficacy (Tortella et al., 2012) • Extreme requests produce frustration and abandonment of the game. • Motor activity contribute to cognitive development (EFs) when is associated with awareness and meta cognitive processes, accompanied by passion and enthusiasm (Hirt, Devers & McCrea, 2008). 24-25 October 2013 Bucharest, Rumania Transforming the educational relationship: intergenerational and family learning for the lifelong learning society 16
  17. 17. The Playground Primo Sport 0246 – Treviso, Italy (built on a project for motor development ) 24-25 October 2013 Bucharest, Rumania Transforming the educational relationship: intergenerational and family learning for the lifelong learning society 17
  18. 18. The space is divided in 4 areas for motor development of 0-6 years old children 4 3 2 3 1. 2. 3. 4. balance Dexterity Mobility Symbolic activity 1 24-25 October 2013 Bucharest, Rumania Transforming the educational relationship: intergenerational and family learning for the lifelong learning society 18
  19. 19. THE RESEARCH AIM: TO INDIVIDUATE IF AND HOW CAN TEACHERS CONTRIBUTE TO DEVELOP EXECUTIVE FUNCTIONS THROUGH MOTOR ACTIVITY 24-25 October 2013 Bucharest, Rumania Transforming the educational relationship: intergenerational and family learning for the lifelong learning society 19
  20. 20. SUBJECTS: 5 Kindergardens of Treviso (Italy) with 190 4-5 years old children; • A) sperimental group (n. 40, 5 y old children); teachers encourage verbally and physically the children to play in proximal zone (Vygotskij, 1978); tell the child to observe the activity of the child before him and to begin the activity when the other has arrived to a certain point of the path. While is waiting every child has his defined place • B) control group (n. 40, 5 years old children); teachers don’t encourage the children every child begins the activity without indications the children has not a defined place where to stay while waiting Both groups are attending the Playground, 2 hours a week, for 10 weeks; each session is organized in 30 minutes of free play and 30 minutes of structured play in the areas of dexterity and balance. 24-25 October 2013 Bucharest, Rumania Transforming the educational relationship: intergenerational and family learning for the lifelong learning society 20
  21. 21. METHODOLOGY (QUALITATIVE AND QUANTITATIVE) • PRE AND POST MOTOR AND COGNITIVE TESTS: ABC Movement tests, (Henderson, Sugden & Barnett, 2007); Day night test (Gerstandt Hong, Diamond, 1994); Haga M., tests (2009); • Questionnaire, interviews and focus groups with teachers and parents; • Focus groups with children 24-25 October 2013 Bucharest, Rumania Transforming the educational relationship: intergenerational and family learning for the lifelong learning society 21
  22. 22. PRELIMINARY RESULTS FOCUS GROUPS: after 10 weeks of activity. Teachers tell that children of group A (sperimental) are more: • able to cooperate and collaborate with each other • have a greater capacity to wait • have greater ability to organize space • more attention 24-25 October 2013 Bucharest, Rumania Transforming the educational relationship: intergenerational and family learning for the lifelong learning society 22
  23. 23. Motor tests SIGNIFICANT RESULTS (0,001) in motor development: • Balance • Dexterity In both A and B groups 24-25 October 2013 Bucharest, Rumania Transforming the educational relationship: intergenerational and family learning for the lifelong learning society 23
  24. 24. CONCLUSION Preliminary data seem to indicate that 10 weeks of motor activity in the playgrounds contribute to improve: 1) (group A-B) • motor skills: balance and dexterity 2) (group A) • Executive Functions • Motor skills: balance and dexterity • Inhibition • Planning • Attention 24-25 October 2013 Bucharest, Rumania Transforming the educational relationship: intergenerational and family learning for the lifelong learning society 24
  25. 25. CONCLUSION • encourage verbally and physically the children; • play motor activity in proximal zone (Vygotskij, 1978); • invite the child to observe the activity of the child before him ; • autonomously begin the activity to a fixed signal • Maintain a position while waiting 24-25 October 2013 Bucharest, Rumania Transforming the educational relationship: intergenerational and family learning for the lifelong learning society 25
  26. 26. Seems to be a good opportunity : 1. To improve motor skills 2. To improve EFs 3. to reduce social disparities, by reducing the EFs gap before school entry 4. Improve social skills 5. Improve health 24-25 October 2013 Bucharest, Rumania Transforming the educational relationship: intergenerational and family learning for the lifelong learning society 26
  27. 27. Thank you for your attention! patrizia.tortella@gmail.com 24-25 October 2013 Bucharest, Rumania Transforming the educational relationship: intergenerational and family learning for the lifelong learning society 27

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