The Cognition & Learning Department

Forman School’s foundational mission is to be a center for scientific and practical studies of the best ways to teach students with learning differences. The Cognition & Learning Department is a natural extension of that mission. All Forman students take Cognition and Learning classes during their time here. For teachers, the department runs a robust professional development program to keep them on the leading edge of learning science. For students, the department assigns the following courses based on their unique learning profiles:  

Metacognitive Strategies: The Empowered Brain

This class is intended to cultivate self-awareness in learning and provide students with an introduction to the knowledge, skills, and strategies needed to successfully navigate the academic realm of adolescence and beyond. The goal setting process, metacognition, personal introspection, study strategies, organizational skills, listening and notetaking, and time management are all explored. The course is designed on the foundation of providing students with the tools necessary for getting to truly know themselves as learners and feel empowered to navigate their own learning as a result. The primary goal of this course is to show learners that they can be in control of how they study, how they organize their work, and how they reflect upon it. Students will understand that learning simply does not “happen,” but is rather an “active” process. Additionally, understanding and reflecting on the ideas of learning independence, dependence, and interdependence and how they fit into the academic realm of Forman will be discussed.

Reading Principles, Reading Skills, and Understanding

The reading courses in the Cognition & Learning Department are designed to help students develop reading and word attack skills using an individualized, multi-sensory, phonetic, and sequential approach. The course is taught in a small-group setting with a reading specialist. Additionally, students delve into assistive technology options and resources throughout their time in this course. By focusing on an individualized approach and knowing that different reading programs work best for certain students, Forman's reading specialists are trained in a variety of programs to meet the needs of the student. These programs include: Orton-Gillingham, Wilson, and Lindamood-Bell. Due to the small class size and individualized approach of the reading courses, students are able to hone in on and enhance their skills in the specific areas that are most beneficial for their academic progress.

Executive Function Coaching

Executive Function Coaching is an action-oriented partnership between the student and coach that serves as a collaborative learning “lab” and a catalyst for sustained cognitive changes and performance enhancement. The student develops an understanding of self, their strengths, and EF difficulties. Working 1:1 with a Certified Professional Co-Active Coach, the student sets short and long term goals, creates action steps, anticipates roadblocks, and designs approaches to manage performance-related challenges using the student’s current course work. Coaching provides non-judgmental structure and support as students gain a deeper understanding of themselves and develop personalized approaches. A critical component of coaching is accountability, used as a measuring tool for action and support as a student moves forward with a plan outside of the session.