Saturday, April 1, 2017

3 Components of Problem Solving

Problem Solving skills help people adapt to challenging circumstances and learn to function effectively with others. Where children lack experience and knowledge of how to respond to daily challenges they engage in  more problem solving situations than adults do. It's important parent's help children solve problems and help them gain the knowledge they need to problem solve.

Problem solving includes making decisions, addressing a variety of feelings including anger, frustration and fear, and resolving issues between people such as parent and child, child and sibling, or child and friend. To problem solve is to address the ability  of two or more people to work out a solution to a problem or situation. The problem can be solved individually or with someone else. Problems cause strong emotions of everyone involved, even when they're individual decisions. For example, if a sibling says they're going to play games with a younger sibling, then a friend calls and wants the older sibling to go do something and the older sibling goes and does something with their friend instead of playing games with the younger sibling, the individual decision of the older sibling causes strong emotions in the younger sibling.

Robert S. Siegler who is a professor of psychology at Carnegie Mellon University who specializes in the cognitive development of problem solving and reasoning in children and Martha W. Ailbali who is a professor of psychology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison came up with three components of problem solving. They are a goal- or in other words a problem to be solved, an obstacle to achieving the goal and a strategy to avoid the obstacle to achieve the goal. Young children use a trial-and-error approach to achieve their goals. They combine reasoning, understanding, strategies, content knowledge, other people, experiences and any other available resource to solve their problem. For example, if a child is building a fort using chairs and bed sheets and they run out of materials to make the fort as big as they're trying to make it, they'll go get more chairs and bed sheets to use to continue to make their fort. It doesn't matter that they're using mom's good sheets, to the child they just needed more material to make their fort and went and got some. Therefore they used their reasoning (need more materials), understanding (mom has more kept in closet), strategies ( they'll be put where they need to be to finish the fort), and other materials ( more sheets) to fix their problem.

Children don't think the same way adults do which is why this train of thought is common to a child and the way they would think through a problem.

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