By Supti Datta
The field of education is always evolving. One of the most important turning points in this journey is where we are right now. The acquisition of skills is now more important than merely teaching students the curriculum’s academic content.
The top schools in Gurgaon now use teaching techniques that can successfully teach vital life skills. “Problem-solving” is one of the most important life skills that must be imparted to students. Its significance comes from the idea that if kids are taught to solve issues from a young age, they may do so much better than their peers who have not had that exposure during their educational years.
The problem-solving skill development process improves metacognition among younger minds. The term metacognition was introduced by John H. Flavell, a developmental psychologist from Massachusetts, USA. In simple words, it is to be mindful of thinking. In other words, it is an act of thinking about thinking. Metacognition also develops resilience among students. Following is a graphic representation of the steps that are crucial in a metacognition exercise.
[Adapted from Ambrose S A et.al, How learning works? 7 research-based principles for smart teaching. ]
Problem-solving requires a stepwise approach. Understanding the problem statement, identifying the information that is necessary to solve the problem, and eliminating unnecessary information are the initial steps in every problem-solving process.
Several tools are used by schools in Gurgaon. At an introductory level, problem-solving skills can be fostered in young learners by guiding them through the word problems of mathematics. Students have been seen to struggle when it comes to handling word problems. The difficulty young learners have comes from their inability to obtain pertinent knowledge and their uncertainty regarding the mathematical processes that should be used to solve problems. The CUBE approach is frequently used in the strategy that is taught to younger students. As seen in the following image, making pertinent information more visible helps learners focus their thoughts in the proper directions and ultimately aids in decision-making.
As educators, we have encountered inquiries from adults on several occasions regarding the value of learning acquired during school hours. “I’ve only applied an insignificant portion of what I learned in school” continues to be the idiom that is used frequently in society. Although we may not have directly used “differential calculus” or “periodic table” in our respective professions, the skills we have learned while taking those courses—problem-solving, pattern recognition, critical thinking, and the ability to apply knowledge in a new setting, help us in all aspects of our lives. It must undoubtedly be true that other non-academic disciplines are equally capable of helping people gain similar skills. However, a student’s life can take on new professional directions thanks to the courses they take in maths, science, humanities, and commerce to name a few.
The PBL methodology, which strives to improve comprehension of the relationship between theoretical knowledge and real-world issues, is used in Vega Schools. Students are more likely to be interested in subjects if they are not taught in isolation but rather through the lens of issues and the application of solutions to those issues. Making learners comprehend the importance of the process rather than the outcome is the main lesson to be learned from the problem-solving skill development activity. Although the outcome is also crucial, the constructive conflict that they experience while working through the issue strengthens their bond with learning. As a result, kids gain the confidence to handle the fresh difficulties they come across in the later stages of life.