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Executive Function Training (EFT) vs. Tutoring

How a parent can decide where to invest in their student’s school success!

After years of hiring tutors, tutors very knowledgeable in their fields of expertise, many parents aren’t seeing their child’s grades improve much. There are still issues with their students of all ages being able to independently get homework started and completed, adapting effective study skills and managing their attention and frustration when learning new material. Tutors are tops for helping students understand the material or the course content. A good executive function coach is usually a clinician or learning therapist with a strong background in neuroscience, educational psychology, ADHD and special education. To get the most out of a parent’s tutoring dollars, a student FIRST needs strong executive functioning skills to be able to attend to, retain and follow through with schoolwork, independent of a parent or tutor. Once a student is primed to study, learn and follow through, a tutor may not be needed after all, or the student will be able to derive greater benefit from tutoring. These skills are called “executive” skills because they are similar to the abilities a CEO or a head of a company would have to demonstrate for a company to be successful and competitive.  A company with a very bright, book-smart but scattered executive would have to depend on his/her managers to plan, prioritize and execute the vision.  Executive function training EFT not only gives the student tools to succeed in academics, but teaches them basic leadership skills. Executive function training helps students:

  • improve attention and concentration
  • be organized,
  • be able to self regulate stress and frustration,
  • plan work
  • study in more effective and creative ways
  • manage time
  • remember what he/she was told or read,
  • take notes and how to use the notes for study
  • get ideas down on paper
  • advocate for themselves and communicate what they need to succeed.

Not all students need work in all of these areas. To save time and money, it’s essential to identify where the weak links are that affect learning. However, if several of these skills are weak, then interestingly, by targeting just a couple skills, improvements can transfer easily to other aspects of executive functioning.

How do you know whether to start your student with a tutor or an executive training coach? Ask your student and his/her teacher where they see the gaps in potential and performance. If your student appears to have a good handle on the bulleted abilities above, puts long hours and effort into the work but still strikes out on quizzes and tests, a tutor may be your best choice. But if there are gaps in the skills above, it makes more sense to start with Executive Function Training.   

To arrange for a free 15 minute inquiry call with Rebecca Shafir M.A.CCC, speech/language pathologist and executive functioning coach at the Hallowell Center, call 978 287 0810.   


Hallowell Center Sudbury • 144 North Road, Suite 2450 • Sudbury, MA 01776 • ph 978-287-0810

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