Solving Problems And Making Decisions
Problem Solving Process/Background
If you ever ask any person in the workplace that if problem-solving and decision making is there activities part of workplace then answer will be definitely ‘Yes!’ But the important thing is learning how to solve the particular problem as it is the critical element of work and it should be done effectively. Usually, specifically in the teaching field, teachers tend to do multiple things when faced the problem at the workplace such as they usually don’t get uncomfortable or afraid and try to confront the problem; teacher always know it that they must come up with the satisfactory answer and answer must be right, and they look to blame someone else. A teacher faces multiple issues and problems at the working place an important thing to solve those issues and problems in an effective way of problem-solving and decision making. The process of problem-solving includes decisions followed by ideas, discussion, and activities that occur from a problematic situation’s first consideration of the goal.
Problem: Intellectual and developmental disability of the students is a real problem faced by a teacher in the classroom. ‘What’ is the first step to explore the aspects of a problem, however, the focus of this stage is on the ‘why’. A teacher, at this step, can discuss with students the potential cause of their intellectual and developmental disabilities
Scope: Analyzing the problem is really necessary for problem-solving and decision making. The relationship between teacher and students is important at this stage of problem-solving and decision making. It is important not highlight directly that students are intellectually and developmentally disabled to avoid the discouraging behavior among students.
Impact: Intellectual and developmental disability reduces the critical thinking approach and analytical skills of the students leading to poor grades and limited to no self-grooming. The teacher may want to start the setting out the timeline or agenda for the problem-solving process faced due to intellectual and developmental disable students, looking forward to other problem solving and decision to make stages.
Moreover, in order to analyze the problem completely, the teacher can discuss the common variables of problems. For example: if student has problem with the accent of teacher and he or she is unable to understand the teacher language while teacher is delivering lecture; what the reason that student feels uncomfortable to raise question during lectures; and despite the good participation in class and good attendance why student is not performing well in class assessments and tests. Once the teacher has analyzed the problem, the teacher can pose the problem question that will guide him or her as the possible solutions can be generated through it.
“How critical thinking approach can be developed among students with intellectual and developmental disabilities?” can be the problem question in such situation. It can be seen that the problem statement is less complex than the problem question since the teacher has moved on the discussion with students of the problem that more in-depth.
During this stage of problem-solving and decision making, a teacher can generate the possible solution that has analyzed above. At this stage, solutions to the problem can be clarified and proposed only, not evaluated. The question at this stage should be what a teacher can do to address the identified and analyzed problem, not what a teacher should do to address the problem. It is perfectly okay for the teacher to ask questions to students to generate ideas by asking questions like:
- “Why don’t you actively participate in the class activities by asking questions and sharing ideas?”
- “What are the things that make you feel uncomfortable in the classroom?”
The need to go back to the previous stage might be revealed by the discussion at this stage to fully analyze or define the problem. Since most of the problems are multifaceted, it is essential for the teacher to generate solutions of each problems’ part separately, so that multiple solutions could be made sure for each part of the problem.
Furthermore, stopping the process of solution-generating prematurely may lead to more thinking. The teacher would need to generate the solutions to each aspect of the problem question that is previously posted. Possible solutions to the problem question could be transparent communication between teacher and student, break down silos, open-minded students in the classroom, and a solid foundation strategy.
Identify Possible Causes
After narrowing down the potential solutions to the problem based on more understandable differences in merit and relevance, a teacher should analyze each and every solution based on the potential impacts of the particular solution, the negative impacts should be considered especially. During this stage, based on the completeness, worth, and credibility, the solutions to the problem can be evaluated critically. A teacher who is required to report the decision rationale to some higher authority of the institution, as the decisions of the teacher may be subject to the scrutiny of the institution as well as students, would be wise to generate the criteria’s set list for evaluating each and every solution. Following questions form the provided options:
- “Does the proposed solution live up to the actual and potential mission or purpose of problem-solving and decision making?”
- “Is it possible to implement the solution actually with the current connections and resources available for both teacher and students?”
- “How will the proposed solution be funded, supported, assessed, and enforced?”
In the addition, a teacher can evaluate the possible solutions based on how particular solution will fit with the skills and abilities of the students. Substantive conflict and secondary tensions, two different and broad concepts, emerge during this evaluation stage of the problem solving and decision making, and the teacher will need to employ listening skills and effective critical thinking within own self as well as students.
Identify Root Causes
Moreover, decision making is the larger process’s part of problem-solving that plays a significant and prominent role at this stage of problem-solving and decision making. While there are so many similar models that so are fair for problem-solving, the technique of decision making is also varied that a teacher can use at this stage according to the convenience. For instance, to narrow down the proposed solutions’ list, the teacher may decide by the possible impacts of each solution, by giving weight to each advantage and disadvantage, or by discussing those solutions with colleagues until the consensus is reached. Following questions are to be considered:
- “What are the possible impacts of each proposed solution?”
- “Which proposed solution have the least failure chances?”
Once the teacher has reached the final decision, the respective institution can be informed to confirm its agreement. A solid foundational strategy is most suitable for the students with intellectual and developmental disabilities and can be adapted to develop a critical thinking approach among such students.
Implementation Of Solution
Some advanced planning is required to implement the decided solution i.e. ‘a solid foundational strategy’, and the planning should not be rushed unless the teacher is operating under delays or some strict time restraints as it may lead to harm and hurdles. Although it is possible to implement some solutions immediately, other solutions may take a few days, or months, even years. As it was noted in above discussion that it could be beneficial for the teacher to poll the respective and concerned entities as to their individual opinion of it. It is clear that a teacher can take such students along with the brilliant students by proper decision making; students having intellectual and developmental disabilities will be able to meet the expectations of their instructor if the explicit instructions are given to them by the teacher.
Although the meta cognitive, as well as cognitive problem solving’s demands and the process of decision making, have resulted in the assumption that is held generally that most of the students having intellectual and developmental disabilities find it difficult to understand the lectures properly and develop critical thinking analysis approach. Such students can grow in their educational and social life if teacher cooperates with them and vice versa. There are numerous strategies and validated approaches to developing critical thinking among students with intellectual and developmental disabilities within both cognitive and social framework. Though, in all contexts, problem-solving and decision making is itself a skill that needs to be developed among such students so that they could be able to address the situations and contexts which are both anchored and meaningful in reality. Following questions are to be considered:
- “Would students be able to think critically and analytically after the process?”
- “Would students be able to address the situations and contexts of the classroom activities?”
The pilot test can also be conducted in order to observe the solution’s effectiveness and what will be the reaction of people. Before implementation of the solution, the teacher also need to determine that when and how he or she would assess the solution’s effectiveness by asking questions like:
- “How teacher will know if the solution has worked or is working or not?”
Since the assessment of the solution will vary based on either the teacher is disbanded or not with students, he or she needs to consider the multiple questions like:
- “If the solution fails, how to take the responsibility of this failure”?
- “If the solution fails, some other solution could be applied or not?”