Getting started by LISTENING

For the past couple of days, I have been rereading the book Late, Lost, and Unprepared: A Parents’ Guide to Helping Children with Executive Functioning by Cooper-Kahn & Dietzel (2008).  As our 4XF, Inc. Blog Team knows, the things teachers struggle with the most is NOT content.  In fact, when teachers are hired for FIT, they are supported with the content necessary to become experts in their space.  The things teachers struggle with the most are the behaviors and discrepancy in student skill abilities.

Given we are at critical junction in our education world, I thought it prudent to take a step back and think about the skills students MUST master, or find resources to help, by the time they reach young adulthood.  Cooper-Kahn & Dietzel tell us to “think of executive functioning as the administrator and manager of a complex and busy system – the system of the human brain.”  this concept is constantly growing and will continue to into the 30s for most of us. The “system” is defined by: Problem-solving, emotional control, planning, organization, metacognition, self-monitoring (control), task initiation, social initiation, inhibition…

At 39 years old, I am not sure I can say I am a excellent administrator or manager of the my own brain system.  

So… What can we do?  We can L.A.U.N.C.H. our practice by taking the time to MODEL behaviors and provide consistency.  At 4XF we have been working on the concept of L.A.U.N.C.H. for the past several months.  The acronym stands for – Listen, Anticipate, Understand, Non-negotiables, Culture, Habits.  Over the next couple of weeks, you will find information about each part and a HOPE that you will put this into practice in your classroom.  This is NOT FOR KIDS – It is for YOU – THE TEACHER.  L.A.U.N.C.H. is a TOOL that allows you to demonstrate ALL parts of a teacher evaluation rubric with “excellence” in mind.

Listening is often the hardest thing to do as an educator.  For 15+ years, I found myself yearning for the organized chaos.  I appreciated the different approaches, the questions, the collaboration, the varying degree of success, the struggle, the innovation, and the creativity.  The biggest concern was what would happen if someone walked through the door for a visit.  Would I have to explain what is going on? Would I have to worry about Jessica in the center of the room standing and swaying? Would my colleagues and evaluators think my classroom management was a bust? Would I have to explain that I listen to the needs of my students and take down the barriers preventing them from accessing curriculum?

I implore you to let them question – let’s see if they were LISTENING for the correct things. Listening is welcoming.  Listening invites excitement.  Listening is respectful.  Listening demonstrates a willingness to understand.  Educators should ask their administrators and colleagues to just LISTEN when they enter your classroom for the first time.  By doing this, you invite others to provide reaction, insights, opportunity, and it displays that you are looking to IMPLEMENT a culture where the STUDENTS are the pilots in their learning.  You help create a “temperament” of acceptance, increased effort, initiation, growth, and community.

I am sure you wondering if there is more… The simple answer is yes, but we will uncover it together.  If this post caused you to pause, wonder, question, anything, 4XF wants to hear from you! Please comment and let’s team to together to change OUTCOMES for all kids!

PLEASE COMMENT – 4XF looks forward to learning with you.

* The author of this POST is Matt Eriksen, Ed.D.  Matt is an expert in the area of K-8 Education.  He has served as teacher, teacher leader, K-8 administrator, parent, consultant and coach.  If you want to contact him directly, his email address is:


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