Executive Functioning and Language: A Complementary Relationship That Supports Learning
Students' executive functions are evidenced by their use of language. Reciprocally, learners can use language to regulate how they employ executive functions. Some learners may not have well-developed self-regulation of the cognitive resources that govern attention, working memory, decision making, and identification of optimal action. One strategy for improvement is for learners to use language to bring their executive functions into conscious focus. Verbalization of executive functioning is an important component of how individuals get to the point of knowing what to do. Learners can be taught to verbalize the cognitive processes that they need to employ. A common example of this is when parents and teachers ask children to verbalize the choices available in a given circumstance and describe the reasons why one choice would be better than the others. In so doing, the child is given the opportunity to hold both the goal and the prohibitions firmly in mind.