Problem Solving

Problem solving is the most independent of learning methods studied within this unit and therefore completely empowers the students to initiate their own learning. This particular methodology is similar to the ‘guided discovery’ methodology, as the teacher makes all decisions about the content of the questions and therefore the correct answers; however the role of arranging sequences that lead to the correct solutions are placed in the hands of the learner. The teacher therefore must assume the role of the facilitator, and be prepared to provide students with feedback rather than solutions. Positive reinforcement is a very important element of the problem solving process, as it will further promote students to provide their ideas, thus further developing individual motivation levels and personal confidence

Advantages

Problem solving allows for the development of creativity among students. Empowering students to discover their own answers once again allows students to control their own learning, thus increasing the likelihood that they will retain the information.

Disadvantages

  • Inability to achieve the answers may result in a lack of motivation
  • It can only be used with students who are already able to take responsibility for their own learning. If students are not motivated to learn, they will be more likely to be distracted from the task.
  • It can take up a lot of time, as “students must have time and a supportive environment in which to work out solutions”.
  • The outcomes of the lesson may not be achieved if the teacher’s preparation is not adequate.
  • Potential for a lack of teacher control over the class