Problem Solving Skills For Students
A problem is something you may not immediately know how to solve. There is a wide gap between where you presently are and getting started on a path to a solution which means that the students require thinking and playing-with-the-problem time. They need to test out ideas, to make conjectures, to go up ‘dead ends’ and adjust their thinking in the light of what they learn .
1. The Right Attitude
Problems are all around us and we solve them all the time. Some people are naturally good at problem solving. Others are not . Most are somewhere in between. To be an good problem solver, firstly we need to start with the right attitude.
2. Be Open Minded
One must be always open to the possibility that the actual problem you have may be different to the problem you think you have, or what you think is causing the problem may not actually be what is causing the problem then the best option may be to throw out your solution and start again in a different direction.
3. Be Inquisitive
Always be looking around and notice things. Try and notice everything, not just what is directly related to the problem area. Often, things which you don't suspect have anything to do with what you are looking for actually do.
4. Ask The Right Questions
This is one of those things you get much better at with practice. Often when a student is stuck we find that we can get him unstuck by simply asking the right questions. By asking these questions, new questions arise specific to the situation or problem. The more questions we can ask the better it is . Try and rely as little as possible on assumptions.
5. Slow Down
Slowing down can be difficult to do but can make a big difference. Because when you try to explain something to someone else you have to slow down. Another approach to help slow things down is to come back to a problem. Leave it for a day or two and come back and try it again . You'll be surprised that how much of a difference it will make.
6. Don’t Be Lazy
Students randomly, rapidly skim, hoping to find the solution. Technology is great. Alas, it has also made us lazy. Don't be lazy. Read all the material carefully and not just skim through it. Often the difference between something working and not is a little detail we could have missed. We may get something that works by skimming but if we don't understand why it works then we shall not be able to adapt it easily to other scenarios.
7. Don’t Panic
Panic is the initial reaction to many when faced with a problem. The problem solver who however is calm and relaxed in the face of problems as they realize that solutions always exist and with the right approach they will triumph. When you are calm you are able to think clearer and more creatively.
8. Make Sure You Are Solving The Right Problem
When you start looking at a problem and it seems really simple, you don’t really understand the complexity of the problem. Then you get into the problem, and you see that it’s really complicated, and you come up with all these convoluted solutions. That’s sort of the middle, and that’s where most people stop, But the really great person will keep on going and find the underlying principle of the problem — and come up with an elegant and right solution that works.
9. Assess The Situation
Sometimes we may need to do some testing to help assess the situation. It could be one of these We are Fixing a Problem then we need to find as much information as possible to help work out what has gone wrong and why. or We are creating something new then we should consider what resources we have available . To consider all resources, even if we can't see how they would be useful presently. At times with a bit of creativity we can find great uses for seemingly unneeded resources.
10. Function over Purpose
A common trait of those that are really good problem solvers is that they can find creative new ways to use existing items. The technology we have around us today is especially flexible in how it can be used. Fixing something is often the case of identifying the relationship between what is causing the problem .
Problem solving is a cycle it involves searching for a solution to a problem that will lead to various possible solutions which then need to be evaluated. If the problem is solved, then you have found an effective solution. If the problem has not been solved, then you start the process again.