“The history of classroom design has been to focus on teaching, with students being able to face the front of the room for lessons; but what if, instead, we design classrooms that focus on learning, with an emphasis on ensuring growth in executive function that will lead to student achievement?” asks Dr. Sulla in a recent EdSpaces Insights blogpost.

Dr. Sulla posits that “executive function skills are not strengthened through lessons as much as they are through classroom structures and continued use.” She proposes designing schools and classroom spaces that focus on “the greater life skills that executive function skills support, namely, conscious control, engagement, collaboration, empowerment, efficacy, and leadership.” Dr. Sulla provides several examples of intentionally designed classroom spaces that “promote greater executive function while advancing academic achievement.”

A Discourse Center, for example, “provides a comfortable place for students to discuss their work and texts they are reading” while a student engaging in a Collaborative Area “requires the executive function skills of seeing multiple sides of a situation, being open to others’ points of views, maintaining social appropriateness, and overcoming temptation.”

Founded by Dr. Nancy Sulla, IDE Corp. offers a comprehensive instructional model that is the synthesis of the best research available on student achievement. IDE consultants work with school districts around the country to help them shift paradigms and design new approaches to instruction. IDE Corp. has been providing instructional and organizational consulting to schools since 1987