The journey toward academic success is ongoing, and periodic self-reflection is key, especially for students grappling with executive function challenges. Our blog, “1st Quarter Check-in with Coach Murphy,” underscores the importance of assessing personal progress, identifying academic barriers, and strategizing solutions. Dr. Murphy offers a tangible framework for both students and parents to tackle these issues head-on, covering topics like metacognition, limiting beliefs, and the concept of “Zero Zeros” for effective homework management. This blog aims to provide a structured approach for evaluating and enhancing academic performance, specifically through the lens of executive function. It’s an essential read for families seeking practical advice to improve the next academic quarter and beyond.

How did Q1 go? Honor roll? Nice job! That’s hard to do without effective effort.

Whether you’re a high school student or a college student now is the right time to reflect and evaluate on personal progress. This can mean looking at grades for term 1 and seeing if you’ve made honor roll. If not, then which classes present the biggest learning challenges. This can be a time to reflect on the number of missed assignments for the quarter, as well as patterns in overall quiz and test scores. This reflective process is beneficial because it gives students a chance to evaluate their homework habits as well as study skills. As a result of this reflective process, students can make changes to improve their performance for the next quarter.

This metacognitive process of evaluating and problem solving past performance requires an integration of executive function. It also requires having physical systems and processes in place in order to implement effective solutions and strategies to avoid repeating the same mistakes. Without these systems in place, there is no clear roadmap to follow.

How can parents help?

Schedule a time with your child and have them go through this process of reviewing the unsolved problems, barriers, or obstacles that impacted their grades. If you can help your teenager come up with a meaningful list of barriers then you can also help them explore interventions and strategies directly related to each obstacle.

Keep in mind that barriers can be physical as well as mental. Many students will develop various excuses for why problems persist. These excuses can be statements like “I forgot”, “the teacher never told me”, “I lost it”, “I was never told”, “I ran out of time”, “I don’t like to read” and other statements for why unsolved problems persist. Behind these excuses we can sometimes find underlying limiting belief patterns and executive function challenges that make it even harder to solve problems quickly and consistently.

Physical obstacles are easier to discuss because they’re observable and therefore, easier to change. For example, a student that does not take notes in class and does not use an academic planner is not demonstrating the most effective academic skills to managing learning and tracking assignments. A student that uses an academic planner everyday to track and review tomorrow’s assignments, also has an important problem solving tool when they need to ‘future plan’ a time to complete a missing assignment or test corrections.

Practice Zero Zeros

Practice developing this mindset with your child. Teach them what the term “Zero Zeros” looks and feels like. This term means that you are committed to developing the tools and strategies to effectively manage, complete, and pass in all homework. So many students that we work with have failed so many times that they no longer believe that this is possible. However, through repeated practice, a growth mindset, and effective problem solving strategies, students are able to rebuild their belief in themselves as an effective student.

All the best to you, your child, and the Veterans in your family. THANK YOU for your service!

Sincerely, Dr. Murphy

If we can help in any way, please let me know. I’m working veterans Day and have availability in my schedule to discuss your child’s needs and see how executive function coaching can help.