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Differences Between a Tutor and an Executive Functioning Coach

Updated: Feb 22, 2023

When your student needs extra support in their classes, parents often first look for a private tutor - someone who can assist their child with math homework, writing projects or homework in a variety of common core subject areas.

Tutors focus on the assignment at hand. They might teach or re-teach the material to assist with learning. Tutors also assist with elements of the writing process (brainstorming, outlining, proofreading and editing). If your student only struggles with learning new concepts, a tutor may be the best course of action.

What if your student doesn't need help with academics but struggles with time management, turning in assignments, organization or procrastination?

You may not realize that the areas above fall under the umbrella of skills known as executive functioning (EF) skills. EF skills are continually developing in our children and don't fully develop until around the age of 25.

Students who struggle with executive functioning often are very intelligent and capable of learning new material but struggle in producing evidence of their learning.

Students who struggle with executive functioning skills may:

  • Spend many hours on an assignment but forget to turn it in

  • Forget to bring home books and important materials

  • Have trouble remembering to check their school email

  • Procrastinate and then feel anxiety or rush to complete work at the last minute

  • Struggle with writing (yes, EF skills can affect writing!)

  • Have difficulty prioritizing tasks

  • Struggle with long-term assignments and breaking down a large task into smaller parts

  • Seem to be unaware of time

  • Has difficulty reflecting on strategies that worked / didn't work in the past

An executive functioning coach can provide the same services and support as a tutor but addresses all of the areas above AND can provide the services below too!

  1. An executive functioning coach looks not at the assignment in front of them but at the underlying systems that a student needs to complete the assignment.

  2. An executive functioning coach help a student follow-through with the assignment they just completed.

  3. An executive functioning coach encourages self-reflection and metacognition about the past (another EF skill).

  4. An executive functioning coach builds skills in areas outside of academic core subjects

  5. An executive functioning coach identifies an organizational and time management system that works for each student and uses that system continuously to practice repetition not only of content but of EF systems

If you think your student could benefit from executive functioning support, please reach out to us. Whether your student is in high school or college, executive functioning development is a crucial factor in academic success. This is the perfect time to build your student's EF skills!

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