Problem Solving Skill – a powerful tool for science education

For a decade now, our team of educators have been bracing for the radical shifts in pedagogical methods, assessments and ‘out-of-the-box’ ways to exposure, alongside the routine academics. We all, endeavour to adopt the best classroom techniques when it comes to imparting lessons and buckle up the curriculums. Most of the time, we do attain the aim of passing knowledge to the futurists; but today I am specifically referring to the path makers of nature, universe and technology – our science students.

Having said that, do we really let curiosities, scientific attitudes and thinking skills form the first foundation brick of our children?! Worth a (many) thought(s)…

Making the students go by the ‘problem solving method’ is the best way to develop their scientific attitude. One of such implementations in Samsara’s chemistry lab, dawned onto me that students would grown up to be self-reliant only if we allow them to find solutions of the problems they face and learn to shoulder the responsibility.

We know, but often fail to work the simplest ways to reach our goals of learning. How good it would be if we bring into focus the need of hands-on activities, experimentation and the like. Equipping students with the magnificent tool of ‘Problem Solving’ is THE way to empower them in finding their own way.

Yes!! Let me tell you more about it.
Once, two of my students ran into a blank-wall during a practical exam, with some salt stuck in their funnel. Like a practice they approached me for helping them out; I rather decided to go offbeat, and very diplomatically asked them to sort it out themselves; allowing them to use the available reagents in the lab. I didn’t disappear from the scene totally but kept close watch on them. They both went about using a needle to trying to dissolve the salt with water; while the success was made with their last attempt of trying an acid, making the salt and anxieties melt down simultaneously.

The Big Bang revelation for them took place in a simple school lab; and happiness on their faces stamped their first self-earned win.

When questioned about the whole process their words inferred the properties of salt but to me my students now knew- ‘nothing is impossible and failure is just the first step in the path of success’. It reminds me of the wisest words ever said for any scientific research, “If we knew what it was we were doing, it would not be called research, would it?!” by Albert Einstein.

Sweta Singh | Ex-Science Educator | Samsara School

Edited by: Namrata Gupta

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Connecting School life to Real life

Core Skills journey started for most of us in October 2015. The two days session on development of (Critical Thinking) and (Problem Solving) skills through connecting classrooms, had been an exciting roller coaster ride. When I registered for the workshop, I had no idea that some day I would come so far in achieving this objective of imparting these skills to my students.

The training session by the British Council opened our minds to exploring new possibilities and pedagogy for class room teaching. The perception, questioning and group discussions were some of the tools that I used to direct students to the objective of teaching Critical Thinking and Problem Solving.

I decided to take the plunge into this challenge after doing my research. I had discussions with Parents, teachers and learners. We reached a conclusion that once these students pass out of school, they need to be assets to the society. These assets should be able to critically analyse any given issue and reach workable solutions to the unforeseen ones.

I decided to teach (attitude and tolerance) in Value Education class and I integrated it with another lesson in English in which protagonist fails to achieve his goals because of his negative and condescending attitude.

And, lo and behold…my students did me proud when they were not only receptive to questions and participative in group discussions, but also emerged with very viable and practical solutions and suggestions.

What more, they all volunteered to take up leadership roles bringing into play healthy discussions and reaching to decisions on various issues, with their friends, families, neighbours and school mates. The change reciprocated in their turned-up attitude and perception towards other people and experiences, putting them on the broader platform of tolerance and civilization.

I left the class with a smile on my face and hope in my heart. My class 9 rocks!

Capt. Praveen Roy | Principal | Samsara School