Problem solving is a basic skill that every person requires in life. You require it to emerge victoriously from any tough or easy situation. Children develop this skill at different rates. While some children are extremely great at problem solving right from a tender age, others might even grow it at a higher age. Nevertheless, it is extremely important for children to learn how to tackle a problem, whenever they face one. Moreover, problem solving is also one of the most important skills that a child should develop. Why? This is so because it prepares them to face the most complex of situations both in their academic life and also their interpersonal life as they mature.
In many case, children develop this skillset by watching their parents solve different problems life throws at them. In other cases, children develop it naturally with time as they mature and as they slowly step out into the cruel world.
But why is having problem solving skills especially important for a child who is studying at school? Let us find out.
Why Is Problem Solving A Crucial Factor In Child Development?
The more early on children tend to grow their problem solving skills, the better they get at it as they mature. It is a known fact that with proper and enough practice a man tends to grow better at what he is practicing. The same stands true with problem solving too.
By introducing children to problem solving scenarios in the classroom, children learn to think of manageable ways to come out of the situation. Doing this helps them get better at
- Identifying the problem(s)
- Brainstorming on ways to get out of the problem as soon as possible
- Testing the different scenarios that come to their mind
- Judging which scenario is better and profitable (on whatever grounds that may be)
- Analyzing the results and thinking of better ways to solve the problem if it occurs again
Also, this is a proper way of solving any problem – whether it is in your academic life or in your personal and interpersonal lives.
If the children learn in time that problems are nothing but opportunities for growing up and being a better person in life, they can broaden their perspective to a wide spectrum and even start working on their self-confidence.
Where Should A Child Start Developing This Skill?
Well, to start off with, the classroom would be a great place to take on this matter for the first time. Why? That is because the classroom has a controlled environment, experts who can guide the children toward the correct path and a group of friends with whom they can discuss and find a solution if needed.
In all good schools, tactical skills are taught to children through the various tasks that they give their students to fulfill. It can be an arithmetic problem, a challenge in the playground or just a tricky question in the midst of a class.
Problems when thrown out of the blue are the best to teach a child how to solve it and get it done with. In the end, life never announces the arrival of a bad situation, does it?
When students regularly practice tactical activities, they get better at it and thus improve themselves in their academics as well. Such a child when grows up and joins a company or starts with his or her own business, will have better abilities of handling things as compared to the others who aren’t such well-trained in problem solving.
Importance And Impact Of Problem Solving Skills In Academic Development
As already mentioned above, problem solving skills are not only important but also absolutely necessary to excel in the academic sector. It teaches discernment and helps the young ones discriminate solvable problems from the unsolvable ones. That is also extremely necessary to learn. Why, because in academics and also in life as not all problems are solvable and as not all problems require equal attention or even any attention at all.
Problem solving also helps students develop a routine that helps the teachers know who is lagging at what. Often children need the help of others to solve a problem, sometimes because he is yet to develop his skillset and at other times because it is not a problem that is to be solved only by one person. Since it can feel demeaning and intimidating to ask for help from others in solving the problem, the classroom is a great place to start with this activity.
Children do not generally have an ego. So, they feel free to discuss things with their friends. Similarly, if the teacher has given them a problem that they cannot solve, they are most likely to walk up to their friends and ask for help. Yes, they might feel ashamed at times, but in the end, they might also end up solving the problem!
What Questions Should A Child Ask When In A Tough Situation?
To solve a problem, a student always needs to ask himself (or herself) the following questions:
- Why is the situation so challenging? What is the underlying cause of this situation?
- Do I know how to solve the problem? Will I be able to solve the problem? Is the problem something that needs just one head or hand or multiple heads and hands?
- If it is a problem that needs the involvement of multiple people who can help me out in solving this?
Once the child has the answer to these few basic and important questions, you will know that he or she is most likely to solve the problem.
Students who learn to ask these questions and how to solve the problem have a deeper and better understanding of cause and effect. This is a major reason why teachers urge their students to look for a pattern or clue when they put them in a problem solving situation. These skills then enhance other skills, for example, reflective thinking and critical thinking.
Importance And Impact Of Problem Solving Skills In Building Confidence
Problem solving requires a child to make choices. Now, when you are a child, you aren’t given enough opportunities to make your own choices until and unless you’ve grown up a bit and have enough sense to distinguish the good from the bad. But at school when you are given to solve problems, you need to make a choice. That choice is completely your own and you necessarily have to own up to it.
This sense of responsibility helps to build your confidence. When you take the decisions, when you have the sense of responsibility, you automatically develop self confidence. Now, there are a myriad of ways to develop self confidence, but this is a basic and an important step in every child’s life.
When the children learn to solve problems, either alone or in a group, they learn to become resilient. As already mentioned, tactical skills widens their perspective. Thus, with time, they learn to look at different problems and also the same problem from a different viewpoint. In doing this, they get to learn about different ways to go about in solving different problems, and even better, different successful ways to solve the same problem!
As students develop their problem solving skills, they start relying on independent decisions and creative thinking. This boosts their sense of independence and also prepare them for the life ahead of them and for future careers.
Besides these two important skills, here are a few other things problem solving can help students with.
Improving Emotional Intelligence
It is the ability to know about, or to perceive the feelings of oneself, or others and to deal with interpersonal relations with sympathy. An problem or its answer, for the most part, leaves an effect on you or others. It is worth considering, as it will help guide you to a fruitful or proper situation. Along with this, it also important that the child grows strong observational skills or he or she won’t be able to show proper emotional intelligence at required times.
Enhances The Creativity Of A Child
There are two different ways to take care of problems, either intuitively or systematically. Instinct is utilized when no new information is required which brings about a snappy choice using presence of mind or experience. A systematic or logical methodology is used if the issues are more perplexing alongside some creative thinking and reasoning. Utilizing basic reasoning and scrupulousness helps in evaluating the results better.
Boosts The Teamwork Spirit
You might not always have all the solutions to your problems. That is when the contribution of others proves to be useful. Regardless of you are at home or school, ‘team work’ is a significant angle to critical thinking. Somebody might be a better creative thinker than you, so you could play well with the group so as to demonstrate persistence to investigate possible outcomes. Both communication and negotiation is significant at this point.
Develops Research Skills
Well, solving a problem calls for the presence of research skills. No matter whether you have proper research skills or not, once you get better at solving problems, you know you are getting better at researching too. In simpler words, research and problem solving go hand in hand. So, as you sharpen your tactical skills, you automatically sharpen your researching skills. It can be a simple Google search or an in-depth research for a project. Neither of them are lesser than the other.
Learn Risk Management
No matter how much of a calculated step you take, there is always some risk involved when you are following the solution to a problem. The key to emerge from this situation victoriously is to know which path has what problems and which ones can you control. When you have done all of these calculations before taking a step towards solving a problem, you will know that you are well prepared to face any challenge that comes your way and that you can solve the problem. The best way to go about this is to prepare a pros and cons list, tally both and then take the leap of faith. Trust me, that is what most people do.
Helps In Decision Making
Problem solving and decision making go hand in hand and are complementary to each other. So as to take care of an issue, a choice must be made. Now and again, having enough knowledge about the issue is a vital factor that can impact a choice. Demonstrating lateral thinking and analytical abilities is significant as opposed to tolerating issues only at face value. It will assist you with assessing what is actually going on and what to do when.
In these rapidly evolving times, employers frequently recognize regular problem solving and critical thinking as an integral part of the success of the organization. Building up a critical thinking element for employees can be utilized for practical and creative assessments, and to show independence and initiative to the employers. This expertise can take you places in your academic, professional and personal life.
Tackling issues can once in a while be an unconscious effort, as we take care of issues each day without truly pondering upon them. It simply happens. All things considered, so as to be truly effective at critical thinking, the above-mentioned points must be remembered at all times.
Problem solving is significant in each and every step of life. There is no part of life that is immune to the ordinary assaults of difficulties. Improving your critical thinking abilities will give you an upper hand that will unquestionably make you stand apart from the group and help you in achieving success.