NDSU Distance & Continuing Education (DCE)

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Course Descriptions

Understanding and Developing Executive Control

EDUC 600

Participants will read the text No Mind Left Behind.  The course focuses on executive control, which is a set of skills that develop throughout childhood and adolescence.  Executive control enables us to look at a situation, identify a goal, create a sequence of steps, and initiate an action to accomplish the goal.  The text discusses the eight specific skills, or pillars that make up a person’s executive thinking.  Educators who take this class will begin to understand why some students are challenged by basic tasks.  Some of these tasks include: beginning work without prompting, transitioning from one activity to the next, completing work on time, organizing materials and being able to focus on an activity for an extended period of time.  Emotional skills such as: “fitting in”, taking turns, and managing emotions are also discussed.  The course will give you many strategies to help students develop a stronger executive control, which will allow them to be more successful in the classroom and in life.


As a result of this participation in this course, students should:

  • Demonstrate an understanding of the executive control and the eight distinct cognitive skills that allow a child to reach their full potential;
  • Be able to determine possible reasons for negative behaviors that interfere with a child’s success;
  • Demonstrate strategies to help children build self confidence, accomplish academic goals and build positive social skills.


The required reading is found in the text listed below.  The text is:

Cox, A. (2007).  No Mind Left Behind:Understanding and Fostering Executive Control-The Eight Essential Brain Skills Every Child Needs to Thrive.  New York, NY: Penguin Group.

Zelazo, P. D. (2005). Executive Function. In About Kids Health. Retrieved November, 11, 2008, from http://www.aboutkidshealth.ca/En/News/Series/ExecutiveFunction/Pages/default.aspx.

Brown, T. (2006).  Executive Functions and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder:  Implications of two conflicting views.  International Journal of Disability, Development and Education Vol.53, No. 1, March 2006, pp. 35-46.