Problem Solving Curriculum in CTE...A Natural Fit
I don't think there's an area of study and learning that is more conducive to problem solving curriculum than career and technical education. It's such a natural fit as students learn real-world skills and practice real-world situations.
“Granny, how do you spell…?” Granny’s response was always, “Look it up.” She’d listen intently while I sounded out the word to find it in the dictionary, helping when I got stuck with a letter here and there. I am now realizing Granny was one of my earliest teachers of how to put my brain to use; how to think critically and solve problems.
My Granny was once a school teacher. Many teachers, including yourself, use these “tricks of the trade” to help students begin to learn how to think critically and solve problems. But how can an online tool do that?
Problem Solving Curriculum
- Asking open-ended questions – Sometimes we ask students open-ended questions and have them reflect and record their answers. Asking questions that do not have one right answer helps foster creativity and helps alleviate the fear of giving the wrong answer.
- Categorizing and classifying – Having students categorize or classify examples helps them to identify the example according to a rule or set of rules. They have to think critically in order to apply the proper rules.
- Make decisions – Scenarios are a huge way to foster critical thinking and problem solving. Placing students in a real-life scenario and asking them to make decisions is a great way to sharpen their critical thinking and problem-solving skills. This offers students a safe environment to make mistakes that they can learn from. It also affords students the opportunity to try a scenario over and over to experience all of the possibilities.
- Find patterns – Finding patterns is about having the student assess what they are learning and finding similar opportunities for this information to apply in real life. Where have they seen or heard of a similar scenario? Where can they find this item in real life? Where would this rule apply in the real world?
While there are many other ways to nudge students into solving problems and thinking critically, these are the primary ways an online tool becomes problem solving curriculum.