Inside the Apple Inside Out: Jenna Gets Interviewed?!
Since this newsletter is all about transitions and navigating change, we thought it would be fun to make a big change here at “Inside the Apple” – the interviewer has become the interviewee! Global Director of Partnerships, Ginger Fay, spoke with Jenna Berk about her experience as an Executive Function (EF) Coach at Applerouth, and the conversation was wide-ranging: from how to tell who needs coaching to some tricks of the trade.
Although much of Jenna’s time is now spent as a Tutor Manager and IEC Account Manager, she began working at Applerouth over a decade ago as a test prep tutor. Jenna continues to deepen her work with students through executive function coaching, which she describes as “what I’ve always wanted to do with my students”:
Sometimes a student comes in for academic or test prep support and the tutor can tell that executive function deficits are in play. When having that kind of difficult conversation with a parent, Jenna recommends starting out by stating what the tutor has observed and asking the parents to share what they’ve seen as well, so you can approach this as a team. A similar approach could be effective for an educational consultant as well:
Of course, IECs are in the perfect position to recognize signs of executive function deficits while going through the application process with their students. Resistance to deadlines can be a dead give away – if you don’t have EF skills, it can be hard to find the motivation or copic strategies to tackle intimidating tasks. Here, Jenna identifies some ways that EF deficits could show up in the IEC-student relationship:
While ADHD is well-known as an EF deficit diagnosis, that doesn’t mean that your neurotypical students couldn’t benefit from EF coaching, especially as they prepare to make the transition from high school to higher education. Schools don’t always teach practical study skills or have the time to walk students through adjusting to a ramping up their workload while their schedule becomes less structured, and an EF coach can support them through that transition:
One of Jenna’s favorite parts of EF coaching is how personalized it can be, especially depending on the life stage that the student is in. Jenna has coached preteens to college students, and there’s always something to work on. No matter the age, however, Jenna tells her students, it’s all about finding the system that works for you:
Summer is coming, and Jenna has some tips for how to take advantage of the summer months to develop EF skills without the stress of high stakes classes and exams. If you can get a student to think about how they want to start the school year, you can save them the struggle to get caught up mid-semester. At its core, EF coaching is the art of asking really good questions – and creating accountability.
Speaking of really good questions, Jenna recommends having students reflect on the past when considering a transition into the future. If you can figure out what you did to succeed in the past, you can extrapolate that for future challenges. And summer is a great time to establish good habits that you can carry into those scary transitions.
Lastly, Jenna left us with her go-to EF trick with a clunky name: chunking!