The unique anatomy and chemistry of this transitional state comprises increased dopamine receptors and accelerated neuroplasticity. Explain What is Happening. Even her advanced students thought it was considerably harder and more frustrating to have to think in a different way to defend a side that they had previously spent 20 minutes building arguments against. All eLearning content should feature interconnected knowledge … Saga Briggs, who researches and writes about cognitive models of writing pedagogy, explained several factors that can challenge our cognitive flexibility and limit the ways we think about problems. Kids use it to find ways to solve … This process is crucial for students’ ability to learn new concepts. Shifting, or cognitive flexibility, is one of the key components of executive function and a cornerstone of the SMARTS program. When asked to draw a plant cell, for instance, a student drew a flower sitting in jail — focusing on the criminal definition of the word “cell” instead of the biological one. “Being able to see things in different ways helps us develop different strategies.”. Let’s use household chores as an analogy for cognitive flexibility. "Mental flexibility is not arbitrary or whimsical,” Koutstaal says. For Toddlers and Preschoolers Test your cognitive flexibility with this fun brain teaser. The ability to easily shift perspective and recognize when the rules change allows us to think in … 2. Cognitive flexibility is an essential skill for an individual to develop because it allows them to break from routine, established ideas and participate in novel activities. Below is a list of possible strategies to support students with cognitive flexibility issues. Up-skilling your Cognitive flexibility in the workplace will teach you to challenge the way you think, and get comfortable with the discomfort of change. However, knowing these challenges to your cognitive flexibility exist can help you overcome them. We use cognitive flexibility daily, even if mostly on a micro level. Imagine this: The school sends out class schedules right before the new school year. For children, many of the above-listed testing methods also double as exercises that can improve their cognitive flexibility. Science writer Peter Hess says chimpanzees, who eat tortoises, use different strategies to crack open shells. When you exercise mental flexibility, you are able to approach a problem from multiple perspectives and contemplate possible outcomes to arrive at the best possible solution. Children have to switch mental gears when moving from one subject to another, abandon one way of thinking about a problem when it does not lead to a solution and adopt another way of thinking, and even give up erroneous information to accept new and correct information. Physician and psychiatrist Daniel G. Amen, author of “Change Your Brain, Change Your Grades,” says that the area of the brain known as the anterior cingulate gyrus is often overactive in people who have low cognitive flexibility. Help them learn how to switch gears quickly and find new solutions to problems when circumstances change without warning. While shared in fun, these images can start a valuable discussion about how someone might take an assignment literally, in the manner of Amelia Bedelia, or have trouble thinking about ideas in different ways. It is difficult for concrete learners to let go of what they learn and imagine or follow logical reasoning to devise a new solution. It’s opposite, cognitive rigidity, causes us to hold on to outmoded ideas, even when new information proves those ideas wrong. Teachers who foster cognitive flexibility early on can prepare students to think creatively and overcome mental roadblocks in the future. “Students need explicit instruction and opportunities to practice the flexible thinking that will make the most of their brains’ fertile adolescent development stage,” writes neurologist and educator Judy Willis. Kids who struggle with flexible thinking often have trouble coping with change. Cognitive flexibility is the ability to transition from one topic or concept to another. Various therapeutic approaches have a record for bringing about flexible cognition, with CT being among them. We all have our own unique mental blocks that hold us back sometimes. They also encourage teachers to warn students about changes and provide ample time to move from one task to another. These include: A new situation might be something small — like a milk carton spilling at lunch — but it requires students to think about how they should handle the situation and move on. In the classroom, teachers can ask students to create board games and then share them with their peers to play the games in a different way. These include: As you can see, many of our cognitive flexibility blocks are subconscious or unintentional. Many of us just stay in the mill pond or go farther down the rabbit hole rather than stepping back and trying to sway things in a more interesting direction. cognitive flexibility: the ability to adapt when rules or circumstances change You can probably understand why those are important for, well, pretty much everything we do! Research Institute for Learning and Development. “Flexible thinking allows us to come up with ways to tackle problems,” says education writer Peg Rosen. For example, in the game of Chutes and Ladders, you can reverse the rules where you slide down the ladders and go up the chutes. For example, the Research Institute for Learning and Development shared some humorous examples of students misreading directions because they only focused on one word or one particular meaning of the word. 3. An unexpected afternoon of playing learning games or outdoor period for students can teach them that changes and surprises can be good. Using positive surprises in the classroom can support and encourage cognitive flexibility too, writes Meghan Fitzgerald at early childhood education platform, Tinkergarten. “However, when it is overactive, there is a tendency for people to get stuck.”. 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You’ve been added to our mailing list and will now be among the first to hear about new arrivals, big events, and special offers. She assigned students to one of two sides and asked them to create a marketing campaign in favor of their side. Engaging Cognitive Flexibility Classroom Activities Show Creative Examples of Cognitive Rigidity. The neural basis of cognitive flexibility has been studied during many periods of development, including early childhood. Practice Thought Stopping. When we are mentally agile, we do pursue goals, but those goals may sometimes be changed or modified as … Concrete learners like to memorize what they read or learn and stick with it. Reduce the number of transitions or changes that you announce at one time. Do something you know how to do, but do it differently (and often). Flexible thinking provides the foundation for creative brain processes. It demonstrates using the same materials to do something different. Teacher Sarah Rudell Beach at Left Brain Buddha has developed games for cognitive flexibility at every learning level. Trouble with these skills is common in kids with ADHD. But other kids who learn and think differently can also struggle with flexible thinking and executive function. She uses the example of a deck of playing cards to explain cognitive flexibility. She explains that the young brain is more open to exploration, passion, and interest than older brains. Rather than react with negativity to the student who is unmotivated , a cognitively flexible educator will look for the root causes of the student’s behaviors and work to find solutions. It also refers to the ability to process multiple concepts simultaneously such as the color and shape of an object or perspectives of republicans and democrats. Cognitive flexibility is required in multiple ways throughout the school day. Cognitive flexibility has associations with cognitive therapy (CT), developed by renowned psychiatrist Aaron T. Beck. Building the Skillsets for Cognitive Flexibility Students need explicit instruction and opportunities to practice the flexible thinking that will make the most of their brains' fertile adolescent development stage. This is another fun and engaging way to challenge cognitive flexibility. There are multiple types of set shifting, but they all require the ability to let go of one idea to consider another. Cognitive flexibility refers to the ability to transition thoughts between multiple concepts or perspectives. Link relevant concepts together. The final step is to show how you are taking steps to help students with low cognitive flexibility, while encouraging them to grow their skills at the same time. The team at CogniFit provide some examples of how cognitive shifting can help in various life situations. Test your cognitive flexibility with this fun brain teaser. Cognitive flexibility refers to the ability to shift attention between task sets, attributes of a stimulus, responses, perspectives, or strategies (Miyake et al., 2000; Zelazo, 2015). The next step is to be clear that challenges with cognitive flexibility are natural in many students, and issues at a young age will likely change over time. defined as the ability to switch one’s thinking (cognition) (or train of thought) as an adaptation to the demands of stimuli Ozobot is a robotic platform that empowers coding & STEAM education for K–12. After twenty minutes, the students were asked to switch and defend the other idea — the one they first disagreed with. What Is Cognitive Flexibility? Sometimes the only thing holding you back from levelling up in your profession is you. There is actually a psychological strategy to introducing fun games and humorous examples of cognitive flexibility as an engaging way to broach a complex subject. Younger learners can practice sorting (similar to the playing card example used earlier), while teens can start journaling and volunteering to collect their thoughts and face new situations. Flexible thinkers let go of their first thought to make a correction. Cognitive flexibility comes into play when something unexpected happens and you are … The quicker you are able to switch or “shift” your thinking from one dimension (e.g. Cognitive flexibility enables us to successfully transition between activities, approach problems from multiple perspectives, consider alternative solutions, shift gears when moving from one topic or concept or to another, and see things from multiple perspectives.This skill is a huge asset in the c Educator Jennifer Warren saw this with her senior English class. “It’s grounded by our goals and aspirations and a balance between control and spontaneity. Jan 14, 2016 - Executive function is an umbrella term that includes a variety of brain processes that help students to carry out goal-directed behaviors to complete a task (ie., following multi-step directions). A child can sort the cards in a few ways: by color, number, or suit. Set-shifting is a component of cognitive flexibility that impacts a student’s ability to shift attention. In any given class, you will have students who get excited about new challenges and topics alongside those who struggle to cope with these changes. Practice thinking creatively. Simply put, cognitive flexibility reflects how we approach new challenges, tasks, and problems each day — and the healthy mindset with which we overcome obstacles. Do you have students in your classroom you can’t pull away from a task? Everyone has different abilities, but teachers can create a classroom in which all students can improve their cognitive flexibility. While other students move easily between subjects, some stay rigidly focused on one idea, assignment, or problem. Cognitive flexibility is being able to flex a brain muscle and push the curtains aside and look out the window toward a more interesting conversation topic. Building the Skillsets for Cognitive Flexibility Students need explicit instruction and opportunities to practice the flexible thinking that will make the most of their brains' fertile adolescent development stage. Say aloud what col­or you see in every word. They often get stuck and don’t understand why. Warn students of transitions or changes. The person might not realize they are stuck, but their brain is sending all kinds of warning bells about a topic or situation. Not all change is something to be afraid of. Slow processing speed can also play a role in being able to quickly switch gears and think of solutions. There’s something for every learner. More importantly, it can also be taught to students who are very rigid in their thinking and in their views of the world. Cognitive Flexibility is a critical skill for living in today’s fast paced society where demands on a person often change. (For a quick intro, check out our overview video: Unit 3 – Cognitive Flexibility.) Cognitive flexibility is usually described as one of the executive functions. The unique anatomy and chemistry of this transitional state comprises increased dopamine receptors and accelerated neuroplasticity. This is especially true for students with […] Fortunately, cognitive flexibility can actually be a fun future-ready skill to develop in the classroom. Building Case, Cognitive, and Lesson Flexibility Students today are learning and interacting with the world in different ways than previous generations due to new technologies and Web 2.0 Tools. Many of us just stay in the mill pond or go farther down the rabbit hole rather than stepping back and trying to sway things in a more interesting direction. Cognitive Flexibility Training and Activities. Michelle Liew at Learning Mind says being humorous and having a quick wit is a great way to develop cognitive flexibility. For example, the Canadian site LD@school, part of the Learning Disabilities Association of Ontario, has a module to help teachers understand how to work with students with low cognitive flexibility. Blogger Nicole Day, founder of the blog Raising An Extraordinary Person, encourages parents (and teachers) to create new rules for games. Cognitive Flexibility: Cognitive flexibility is the ability to think flexibly and to shift perspectives and approaches flexibly. It helps facilitate the daily social interactions between people as well as in finding solutions to real world problems that commonly have more than one solution. Quick! Students can learn about wordplay and how one word can have multiple meanings. Images by: qimono, Graham Oliver/©123RF.com, Goran Bogicevic/©123RF.com, Positive_Images. In practice, “getting stuck” means becoming more argumentative, worrying, automatically saying “no” to things, and getting upset when something doesn’t go their way. Cognitive flexibility refers to the brain’s ability to transition from thinking about one concept to another. One is to bang them against a tree, which is similar to the way they open coconuts. Try this clas­sic brain teas­er, fun for kids and adults alike. Cognitive flexibility refers to the ability to transition thoughts between multiple concepts or perspectives. As students learn this, they will better be able to cope with neutral changes or even negative changes in their lives. The ability to see the different ways of doing things and understanding when certain options are best displays cognitive flexibility. As an educator, you need to give students opportunities to practice their cognitive flexibility in a safe and structured environment. Flexible Thinking and Math. While most people think they practice cognitive flexibility, many actually experience several blocks or problems which they don’t recognize. While some games falsely claim to improve cognitive skills, these three games have actually proven to help users boost memory, inhibition, and cognitive flexibility, the new research shows. Are you wondering how to develop flexible thinking in children? shape of an object), the greater your level of cognitive flexibility. August 20, 2019 by SharpBrains _____ Ready to test your con­cen­tra­tion pow­ers and cog­ni­tive flex­i­bil­i­ty? Few people actively seek out to live a life full of confirmation bias. They stated that cognitive flexibility is the ability to restructure knowledge in order to adapt and make use of it in different settings and situations. August 20, 2019 by SharpBrains _____ Ready to test your con­cen­tra­tion pow­ers and cog­ni­tive flex­i­bil­i­ty? Like any other skill, cognitive flexibility can be improved if you work at it and practice. In this short creative thinking workshop video, you can start by exercising your cognitive flexibility. You may be surprised which of your students fixate on problems and are less willing to accept change. In other words, a similar solution is applied to a new situation. This involves being able to take different perspectives, shift priorities and redirect attention from one thing to another. Start by explaining that humans aren’t the only ones that exhibit cognitive flexibility. It also refers to the ability to process multiple concepts simultaneously such as the color and shape of an object or perspectives of republicans and democrats. About changes and provide ample time to move from one task to another experience... 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