BrainFutures recently released a report that makes a clear case for integrating proven brain fitness programs into all U.S. classrooms. Over a decade of research has shown that evidence-based programs can improve students’ executive function skills and prosocial behaviors, which are more accurate predictors of academic readiness and life success than IQ or any other performance markers.
Brain Fitness and Executive Function: Evidence-Based Interventions That Improve Student Outcomes details the importance of foundational executive function skills – working memory, inhibitory control, and cognitive flexibility – on academic performance and how classroom programs can help improve those skills. These skills are inextricably linked to social emotional learning (SEL).
Of immediate use to educators and school leaders, the report presents a vetted set of brain fitness programs that meet the evidence-based standards of the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). The report highlights classroom interventions specifically because they allow all students to engage in the program together without stigmatizing those with the greatest deficits. It calls for all schools to adopt these types of programs and ensure that executive function training is a standard component of teacher certification programs.
The report analyzes 29 brain fitness interventions already being used in schools, including cognitive training programs, mindfulness tools, and executive function skills curricula. Each program was assessed against a set of rigorous standards established by the BrainFutures’ advisory group. Those programs have yielded proven outcomes for students, including: increases in proficiency on state-mandated standardized tests and school-administered tests, reductions in disruptive school behaviors, and increases in prosocial behaviors.
For more, see: https://www.brainfutures.org/brainfitnessinschools/