Problem Solving Characteristics

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You can select resources relevant to your curriculum but the samples should include a range of different features, for example a word problem or scenario-based task with some structure; an open-ended and less structured investigation; an assessment task; a structured task with a single correct answer).

These samples are used to stimulate discussion about what is meant by a problem-solving task and then to consider the range of mathematical and personal skills that might be developed using such tasks.

There is concurrent and parallel research on personality and cognitive styles that describes individuals' preferred patterns for approaching problems and decisions and their utilization of specific skills required by these processes (e.g., encoding, storage, retrieval, etc.).

Researchers have studied the relationship between personality characteristics and problem-solving strategies (e.g., Heppner, Neal, & Larson, 1984; Hopper & Kirschenbaum, 1985; Myers, 1980), with Jung's (1971) theory on psychological type serving as the basis for much of this work, especially as measured by the MBTI (Myers & Mc Caulley, 1985).

Help your students learn how to overcome issues independently by integrating problem-solving skills into your lesson plans.

This article will help you teach your students how to understand, identify, and resolve issues that they are facing in class.

Before next time, ask each teacher to try the task with a class.

They should reflect on how effective it was; what progress students made with the development of problem-solving skills and be prepared to share their thoughts with the group at the next session.

Recent research has identified a prescriptive model of problem solving, although there is less agreement as to appropriate techniques.

Separate research on personality and cognitive styles has identified important individual differences in how people approach and solve problems and make decisions.


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