Educational Problem Solving!
Oct 18, 2015 Teaching 1989 Views
A problem is 'a situation that presents an opportunity to make a difference in making things better' and problem solving is the process involved in the conversion of a 'current situation' into a 'desirable future situation'. Any thought process that thinks about ways of increasing quality of life or avoiding a decrease in the quality of life is actually being involved in the process of 'problem solving'.
The area broadly defined as Problem Solving usually consists of using ad hoc methods or means to find solutions to problems in a methodical and orderly manner. Examples of problem solving techniques can be taken from those related to 'psychology' that involves mental solving methods.
It is used in many areas and disciplines with varying perspectives and terminologies - e.g. mental process in psychology, computerized methods or processes in computer science and so on.
In education, an important goal is to teach and help students think more productively using a process of "creative thinking" and "critical thinking". Creative Thinking refers to the generation of ideas and Critical Thinking refers to the evaluation of ideas; together the two enable the ultimate process of Problem Solving and are extremely essential assets and attributes that a well-rounded and productive thinker requires.
In a typical school environment for example, an effective teacher inspires a motivated student to adopt a 'problem solving approach' in education by looking at and evaluating the goals of combining personal skill, knowledge and working towards the desired result in the future.
It is a fundamental requirement in the imparting of education; the transfer of knowledge and skill to enhance situation is directly related to the students' abilities to detect problems and use their creative and critical thinking processes to find solutions. That sums up the goal of education which is to help students learn lessons in ways that helps them use those lessons to solve problems in situations that they face. Therefore, this kind of technique in educations basically encompasses a range of processes such as -
• Defining key terms
• Types of problems
• Theories of problems
• Processes in problem solving
• Ways of teaching skills
• Ways of teaching for transfer, etc.
Over the years, many studies have been conducted on 'problem-solving techniques and strategies' and the instructional methods that have been devised. The one constant feedback obtained from all the studies pointed to a 'more direct approach' in teaching people the skills needed to become better problem solvers and resolvers. The four issues identified centered around are:
• What to teach
• How to teach
• When to teach
• Where to teach
Providing feedback to students about their performance in any situation helps enhance their skills; however feedback should be "objective" to be most effective not specific or structured and should allow for identification and evaluations of strengths and weaknesses.
Team-based Learning (TBL) is a crucial and well established strategy in this process. It uses recorded cases where emphasis is on the following:
• Exploring multiple problem solutions
• Using evidence as a means to support proposed problem solving solutions
• Reflecting and evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of the solution to further develop problem solving skills.
TBL consists of three defined phases - (I) preparation (ii) readiness assurance (iii) application of course or study concepts. Through this process, students can receive feedback on how well they have mastered the concept of problem solving.