14th February 2019

Skill #6 Problem Solving Ability

What is Problem solving ability? 

Whether it’s a toy-related conflict, a tough math equation, or negative peer pressure, kids of ALL ages face problems and challenges on a daily basis. As parents or teachers, we can’t always be there to solve every problem for our children. Our job is to TEACH our children how to solve problems by themselves. This way, they can become confident, independent, and successful individuals. Instead of giving up or getting frustrated when they encounter a challenge, kids with problem-solving skills manage their emotions, think creatively, and persist until they find a solution. Naturally, these abilities go hand-in-hand with a growth mindset. Problem-solving skills help you determine the source of a problem and find an effective solution. Understanding the critical components involved in problem-solving will help you improve this skill set and demonstrate your expertise.

Why it is necessary?

Kids face a variety of problems every day, ranging from academic difficulties to problems on the sports field. Yet, few of them have a formula for solving those problems. Kids who lack problem-solving skills may avoid taking action when faced with a problem. Rather than put their energy into solving the problem, they may invest their time in avoiding the issue. That's why many kids fall behind in school or struggle to maintain friendships. If a child is able to solve problems on their own, they will be happier, more confident and more independent; they will not feel frustrated or disheartened in their inefficiency; therefore it is important we begin teaching children problem-solving skills from an early age. Rather than being looked on negatively, problems help build character, resilience and perseverance. They afford us opportunities to see things differently and do things in a different way and evoke lateral thinking. A child who lacks problem-solving skills may avoid trying new things, may ignore certain situations altogether or act rashly when presented with a problem.

Our EduDrama programme nurtures the child's problem-solving skills by encouraging them to work sums and comprehension answers out independently. Rather than teaching in the conventional sense, our students develop the skills and attitude to become independent self-learners who do not rely on - or are limited - by the skills and knowledge of others. Our programme has been designed in such a way that they encourage self-learning and draw upon a students' problem solving and critical thinking skills. Students are guided by examples and are encouraged to rely on techniques and strategies they've learned from studying the lower levels of the programme to help them solve more advanced work on their own.

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10 tips to build problem-solving abilities: 

  1. Identify the problem: Just stating the problem out loud can make a big difference for kids who are feeling stuck. Help your child state the problem, such as, "You don't have anyone to play with at recess," or "You aren't sure if you should take the advanced math class."
  2. Let them make mistakes: Give your child some space. Whatever age your kids are, allow them to make mistakes and teach them how to move forward.
  3. Encourage creative play: Remember wooden blocks? How about building a fort from available material? Kids of all ages learn most in the context of the play. Make sure their play involves enough challenge and requires imagination. Eventually, problem-solving becomes its own reward.
  4. Roadblock experience: This is the opposite of solving your kids’ problems. Make the difficulty reasonable, and make sure a solution is possible. The more informed choices they have to make the better.
  5. Provide multiple potential solutions: Whenever it is possible, facilitate decision making. Keep the ball rolling by making sure your kids don’t routinely avoid making tough choices because you automatically issue a default solution that’s non-negotiable.
  6. Make problem solving a fun part: Make surmounting difficulties fun. We all run into problems all the time, so why not make surmounting family challenges with a positive attitude simply the way your household does business.
  7. Try some do-it-yourself projects together: Not handy? No problem. In fact, the more your child sees you in action, problem solving step by step, the more of a problem solver your child will become.
  8. Teach them basic problem-solving steps: 
    Identify the problem
    - Break the problem into manageable parts, so each task does not seem impossible.
  9. Allow children to experience failure: If we’re unwilling to see our children fail at a task, then we’re unwilling for our children to learn.
  10. Routinely ask your kids for help: Make sure the children understand that you respect their capacity to solve problems. “I don’t know how we’re going to afford to a big Christmas this year. What do you think?” Practice brainstorming as a family. You’d be surprised at how creative they can be.
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