How To Enhance Problem Solving Skills

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In his classic young adult novel , author Gary Paulsen tells the story of a teen lost in the wilderness.

He survives by keeping his wits about him and solving problems as they come along.

It is not staying wrapped in our own thoughts or taking on the problem alone. Instead, we need the time to soak it in and get our thoughts in order.

It may be just having the time to consider the alternatives.

True story: An acquaintance of ours, a 19-year-old with a high-school education, applied for a job at a local retail outlet.

Her resume looked good and the references checked out, so she was asked in for an interview. She wanted to “make sure the manager gave my daughter a fair shake.” The manager said later, “There’s no way I’m hiring someone who can’t deal with her own issues.” Educators know that problem solving is foundational to a child’s learning capacity. Good teachers don’t provide correct answers as much as teach kids how to use problem-solving skills to arrive at a solution.There isn’t a day that goes by in which a problem doesn’t arise. If we freeze in our tracks or ignore a problem, it just doesn’t evaporate. It is easier to recognize a problem when it is someone else’s. Big or small, we encounter problems each and every day. Worse, unsolved, we get stuck in the status quo or blame someone else for leaving it unsettled. We solve problems or, at least, it is what I am suggesting is a necessary life and work skill. When it is ours, it is more challenging to see at times. A definition of it is a starting point and then we need to define it further. We just need to look at a problem from a different angle to gain a better, more accurate perspective. The first step is to look at the statement carefully and understand it well.Reading carefully is often a skill set that does not come naturally.Both of these wear down our growth mindset and impact our attitude in a very negative way. Some are better at it than others, but it is a skill anyone can learn and enhance. Here are some clues: There are market, culture, people, and many other clues that arise. Key questions requiring answers include: Understand the problem. We must avoid stalemate, sidestepping a problem or letting one fester.Make the difficulty reasonable, and make sure a solution is possible. Break the problem into manageable parts, so each task does not seem impossible.The more informed choices they have to make the better. If we’re unwilling to see our children fail at a task, then we’re unwilling for our children to learn. If you get stuck at one perspective, you can end up with a solution that is not germane in the long term or not reliable enough.After the above steps, you will have a few solutions.


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