Problem Solving means a better use of the ability to classify problems, situations and to solve them. The problem-solving process is linked to the metacognitive capacity of executive control of the task, such as self-monitoring and self-regulation, and tends to develop them9.
In the Support project, to explore the concept of problem solving based on the knowledge and experience of partners and stakeholders we gathered a set of specified tools and methodologies.
The methodologies where chosen so that they could be as inclusive as possible or based on their ability to be adapted to be inclusive.
The methodologies collected and found below are extremely varied as they:
➔ address several stages of problem-solving: problem setting, brainstorming and decision-making.
➔ encourage learners to go deeper into different aspects of a problem, possibly also questioning the problem statement itself
➔ allow participants to look at a problem from different perspectives
➔ develop analytical thinking and listening skills, but also imagination and compassion
➔ develop self-reflection and personal motivation
Brainstorming: is used by a group that attempts to find a solution for a specific problem by amassing all the ideas spontaneously by its members. Mutual respect should be maintained and everyone should believe that every member has a potential to contribute.If guided well a brainstorming session can bring hidden ideas and thoughts to the forefront, a lot of these get washed under the carpet in day-to-day affairs.
Design thinking: This methodology is pretty famous, and it follows a very straightforward and structured way to approach and issue and try to think of a potential solution. It was chosen because it is a widely accepted method and can be easily adapted to other contexts. This methodology can be adapted to assist in the development of team working and decision-making competences. We believe that it corresponds to the project content because it is specifically a problem-solving methodology.
Forum theater/Theater of the oppressed: This technique is very different from the other ones because it also makes use of the artistic inclinations of the learners and educators, thus alllowing them to present their views on shared life experiences. We chose is because it adds an extra aspect on the educational process of problem solving. Apart from problem solving, it helps with the development of ones’ personal expression, critical thinking on life situations, civic competence and team working from the view of mutual respect and active listening. In terms of the project content, it is considered relevant because it is a very democratic and creative approach that involves everyone in any way they wish to express themselves.
Peer mentoring: This methodology puts forward the socialization of a problem / problematic situation and is based on sharing experiences among the members of a group. It is can be really effective and psychologically supportive method, if of course is used with mutual respect by all parties involved. We chose it for its potential for inclusion and socialization aspect that plays an important role in adult education. Additionally, it helps develop communication competences (such as active listening), empathy, team working (and solidarity). It is connected to the project content because it can help bring together the learners in an educational setting and it promotes the creation of a supportive network within the educational setting.
The analogy technique: This technique as its name suggests approaches a problem by drawing parallels and inspiration from other situations and phenomena whose reality can reflect ways to face our problem. We chose it because it helps approach issues on a more holistic way and uses existing knowledge combined with imagination in order to overcome problems. It helps develop also critical thinking and enhances creativity. In terms of the content of the project, it is applicable because it is a simple yet a nice way to help deal with issues in the educational setting using existing knowledge of everyone involved and is based on the mutual communication between the members.
The Socratic method: This method is used in a bilateral discussion, where one person poses a problem and the other intervenes with questions on the “right” moment to help detect the underlying reasons that cause the problem or keep it from facing it. We chose it because it allows the person to carefully detect and reflect on previous experience and understand where they feel unable to face an issue. As a method it helps also to develop ones self-reflection and understanding skills as well as critical thinking. In terms of the project content, we believe that it is a nice method that helps strengthen the communication between learner and educator as well as allow for the better expression of oneself.