by Tiera S. Coston
As teachers, we all want to encourage the development and enhancement of the problem-solving skills of our students. However, we may have to tap into some problem-solving skill of our own when attempting to create a classroom environment that is engaging, informational and effective in meeting the objectives of our courses. Many times, this is easier said than done. But, fear not. The Eberly Center at Carnegie Mellon University has created an excellent resource that may help you to effectively address teaching issues that are commonly encountered in the classroom. This Solve a Teaching Problem tool works as an easy-to-use, three-step process. First, you identify the problem that is occurring in your teaching from a listing of issues that are divided into broadly-themed categories. These categories include: Attitudes & Motivation; Prerequisite Knowledge and Preparedness; Critical Thinking & Applying Knowledge; Group Skills and Dynamics; Classroom Behavior & Etiquette; and Grading and Assessment.
Once you identify the problem, the second step is to identify the possible reasons that the problem is occurring.
Once you understand why the problem may be occurring, the final step is to explore the strategies provided to determine what may be effective in addressing the problem.
It is important to note that these strategies are both evidence-based and practical. However, as with any strategies, certain ones may work for some while being ineffective for others. The idea is to think critically about what is happening in your particular class and use the strategies as a guide to create a plan of action for your specific situation. Happy problem-solving.