Giving children some solving problem activities is very helpful to encourage their logical and intellectual skills. But for most students, facing problem solving for the first time can be a real challenge. They don't know how to solve a problem that seems very complicated.
As a parent or teacher, help the children develop their problem solving skills better by helping them frame various techniques. Below are some of the things to do to help students develop useful educational problem solving strategies:
- Practice. Actually, practicing is the single most effective thing to do to help students learn more skills on problem solving. Give them more problems to solve. But this time, you should be there to guide them. That way, you will know what makes the activity very difficult for some students. In time, they'll get used to solving problems and that will be very helpful for the students.
- Show them how it's done. Get a problem to solve and show the students how you would solve that problem. Explain how you came up with such a solution. Discuss everything-from the first to the last step. Also, show the student an alternative way on soling the problem. This way, the students will learn from you by example.
- Help them solve a problem. The student may be confused of what the real problem is. There are a lot of data and various actions stated on the problem. Which of these is the real problem? If the student is confused, helping them solve the problem will be a great help.
First, ask them to restate the problem using their own words. Check if their understanding of the problem is correct or if they missed an important detail. Then, ask them what are the facts given to them. Ask them to identify what is being asked in the problem Should they find the product or the sum?
Sometimes, the student will give wrong answers. Be careful when correcting mistakes. You should be gentle and very understanding. The student is still learning the process and is trying to develop techniques of his own.
By finishing a problem with your help, they will understand how it's done. Now, they have a first-hand experience. They are a step closer on successfully solving a problem on their own.
- Solve problem on their own. After a few practice, maybe the student is ready for a new challenge-solving a problem on their own. On the first few problems, make sure you are there to guide them. Tell the student to never hesitate asking questions in case something is not clear to them.
- Encourage students to share learned techniques. Have a problem solving group study. Invite a few students to join. Initiate an activity and let them solve the problem by sharing ideas and helping each other. This way, the students will discover how other students solve the same problem. This can give them ideas on better techniques of solving problems.
Some children will surely be slower to learn techniques while others will be faster on figuring out how to solve problems. Never compare students, though. Instead, encourage them. Tell them that with constant practice, they will be able to learn more about problem solving. Never force them to solve more problems, too. Their brain also needs rest after solving a problem or two.