What is the Executive Functioning Simulation?

By Dr. Sheila Murphy
January 23, 2024

At Learnfully, our most requested professional development training is the executive functioning simulation. Executive dysfunction affects 55% of learners and can cause major barriers to learning. There is a direct correlation between executive dysfunction and disruptive classroom behaviors. In fact, over 80% of schools report seeing a connection between executive functioning challenges and behavioral issues yet only 13% of them offer executive function-based training.*

At a time when over 80% of schools are seeing a significant increase in negative student behaviors**executive function-based training cannot be overlooked. The executive functioning simulation is an excellent way to give educators a deep dive into what it feels like to have executive dysfunction and how to support learners through these challenges.

Why is applied training on executive functioning so important?

Executive functioning is the foundation of everything we do, every day.  Our executive functioning is how we plan what we will do throughout a day, a week, an hour. Understanding how our students struggle with executive dysfunction is half the battle. 

As Einstein said, “A problem defined, is a problem half solved.” Before we find solutions to learning and behavioral difficulties we have to truly understand what our learners are experiencing. Helping teachers and parents get to the root of the problem is the goal of the executive functioning simulation. The reality is, even excellent teachers have not been given all the tools they need to get through to ALL kids.

Can understanding executive functioning really lead to teacher retention?

A 2022 poll by the National Education Association identified that 55% of teachers plan to quit their current roles in education earlier than they originally intended, this is up nearly 20% from just a year prior. Teachers are leaving the profession because of burnout and classroom behaviors are one of the leading causes of that burnout.

The effects of executive dysfunction on our learners continues to be overlooked. We can’t afford to overlook it when those behaviors not only affect student success but teacher retention as well. 

Executive functioning simulation provides teachers with a very specific understanding of the gaps a student needs to fill before learning can even begin.

The stress of not feeling successful when trying to reach students academically and social-emotionally leaves teachers feeling ineffective.

Why Learnfully training is different from the rest

The Learnfully executive functioning simulation is different from anything you’ve experienced before. During the training we simulate what executive dysfunction feels like for a learner at school or in their learning environment.  We provide strategies and activities for the classroom and at home to help grow executive function skills. As you go through our training you will experience:

  • Applied strategies- A focus on the application of executive functioning and classroom strategies.
  • Deeper understanding- Development of deeper empathy and understanding through hands-on simulation exercises.
  • Holistic, tailored and effective support- Professional development customized to the needs of your environment and a clear path to the implementation of new strategies.
  • Emphasis on school to home harmony- We don’t just give the presentation and leave, we offer a parent simulation night and continued support to help you apply what was learned. It takes a village and we follow through to help you build that village.

Who we service

Our training has served hundreds of educators and caregivers. We also include a parent night simulation to help educators and parents begin this process from a place of shared understanding.

Our impact

After a recent San Francisco training an attendee offered, “This was the best professional development I’ve experienced in my 23 years in education.” This sentiment is repeated time and again and educators are offered their first chance to truly experience what executive dysfunction feels like for learners in a classroom setting.

The educators and caregivers who have experienced the executive functioning simulation are now aware of their students’ needs in ways they haven’t been able to achieve in the past. This, in turn, transforms all aspects of the learner’s educational experience and success.

How to reach Learnfully

To schedule an executive functioning simulation workshop for your school, organization or group call or text Learnfully at 888-459-6450 or email amanda.eldridge@learnfully.com.

*data in this article comes from our report on The State of Neurodiversity.

**from The National Center for Education Statistics

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