Problem-Solving (Chapter 8 – Part I)

Effective problem-solvers engage in the following steps…

1. Identify the problem (awareness of the problem and the ability to define the problem concretely)

Possible difficulties to engage in this step?

i. ‘Not in the habit’

ii. Lack background knowledge (affects awareness – e.g. Math problems)

iii. Do not spend TIME to reflect

Required disposition?

i. Open-minded (not affected by first impression – react vs. respond)

ii. Engage in exploratory activities

iii.llow problem and solution to evolve (consider it an ongoing process)

iv. Divergent thinking  

2. Re-presenting the problem (helps in analyzing the problem)

› Abstraction

›  Visualization (graph, picture, story, etc.) 

› Ability to think across events, experiences, and knowledge domains

› Goal state = “what you want to accomplish once the problem is solved?”

3. Selecting an appropriate strategy

1. trial-and-error = no strategic plan whatsoever

2. means-ends analysis = sequence of steps identified, implemented, and evaluated individually

a. formulate a goal state

b. break down the problem into smaller sub-problems

c. evaluate the success of one’s performance at each step before proceeding to the next

4. Implement the strategy

› success at this stage depends on success at stages 1-3

› strategy shifting = change strategies more often

› strengthened by previous experiences dealing with problem resolution

› quick solution vs. solution-after-analysis & understanding of the problem

5. Evaluating solutions

› of product and then process

› opportunity to IMPROVE and do better in the future

› usefulness and applicability of a particular strategy checked

7 thoughts on “Problem-Solving (Chapter 8 – Part I)”

  1. These steps are very good for a problem solver. However, sometimes it is not necessary to follow all these steps. In my opinion, I think that a good problem solver will choose the strategies that are appropriate to the situation. The important thing is that he understands the problem, and has ability to analyze, and to reason. Experiences are important too. Most good problem solvers will often take the time to look at previously done problems which are similar or identical to the one that they are trying to solve. Finally, every one has different ways of solving the problems, and each of us should choose the way that is fair for everyone involved.

  2. I learned that the problem solving steps are very useful in solving the problem, just like we demonstrated in the classroom. But I also think that, there are three things should be with a problem solver, such as characteristic, behavior, and self-talk. For example, if a problem solver is open-mindedness, he/she is willing to consider different ways of thinking; he/she reads and listens without biases then he/she will use self-talk as, “this seem like a difficult problem, but let me look at it another way.” Then he/she can start using problem solving steps.

  3. From this lesson, I learned how to be a good problem solver. A smart problem solver sould be a smart learner. He or she could adapt the new situation easily and be aware of the problem quickly. when a problem appear, the problem solver could think it carefully, and look at this problem from different points of view. A good problem solver will never make a decision rashly. Even in a emergency, he or she still can think clarmly. In addition, this kind of problem sovler must be experienced. In many situations, the experience of the problem solver will help him or her to make the right decision.
    However, expect Jesus, no one can always solve problem perfectly. When we meet problem, pray to God, He will help us and make the best decision for us.

  4. Dr.Roy:

    When look at these problem solving steps which remind me some how in our true life problems. Although sometimes we have clear mind and want to analysis the problem. But we usually distrub by the massy situation. So I think the main point is people should calm down before make any decisions.
    In fact, if we apply these steps in ordering solving problems which will really help somehow. Apply these strategies in the classroom will also be helpful. When see students make the problems of the situation makes complex, we also can use these steps to consider about the problems. It will be solved by the smart teacher who use these steps well.

  5. solving problems by using these fives steps would help us alot in our life. But i wonder, sometimes I want to use a short cut way to solve my problem. Now i understand that the short cut way is not an effective problem solver. I think of being a good problem solver, we need to have a characteristic of curiosity, flexiblility, honesty and positive attitude. these characteristics help us alot when facing with problems. we might have a very hard time if we dont’ know these five steps and we don’t even have these characters.

  6. The stept in solving problems make you be come more careful about solbing the problems. but in real life we sometimes may found out that when we solve real life problems we seems to skip some of the process but the result comes out to be good!!!

  7. I’m not a good problem solver since I never look at my problem from outside. It means that when I have a problem, I usually dwell on it and complain until I get frustrated at myself. Therefore I personally think that to be able to solve the problems we are facing, the first and the most significant step is to come out of the suffocating situation and look at the problem and observe the situation as a bystander or outsider. It is because when we have problem, we usually become too emotional that we can’t even see simply facts that are causing the problem. Then we let ourselves carried away, making small problems bigger and big problems impossible to deal with.

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