Personal Problem Solving
Much has been written about the importance of teaching students to be good problem solvers. A substantial body of research supports this belief, and links critical thinking and effective problem solving skills to higher student achievement and improved student conduct. Less has been written about the importance of problem solving skills for teachers. It is often assumed that teachers come to the job already prepared in the use of personal competencies (soft skills) such as problem solving. The need for teachers to be effective problem solvers is hard to deny. Teaching is a challenging profession that requires teachers to make an average of 1,200 critical decisions each day. Problem solving involves defining the problem, determining the cause of the problem, reading and interpreting data, analyzing and selecting the best evidence-based solution for the problem, developing an implementation strategy, and monitoring the effect of the intervention. To provide teachers with the skills required to be successful in the classroom, teacher preparation and ongoing in-service training for teachers must put problem solving at the core of training.