Why Problem Solving is Important?

With that being said, what exactly is problem solving? Is that referring to a maths problem? Maybe an exam? A jigsaw? It’s all of them!
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Problem solving is everywhere in life...

Problem solving is something which we value greatly at Aveea Academy. We want all our pupils to be able to develop their own skills in problem solving and make full use of their talents. With that being said, what exactly is problem solving? Is that referring to a maths problem? Maybe an exam? A jigsaw? It’s all of them! Problem solving is everywhere in life—it’s a mindset.

Maybe you wake up late, you’ve got 5 minutes to get ready, a perfect example for problem solving. What are you going to do? Panic? Or maybe you’re going to quickly go through your mind the optimal way to get ready the fastest. Maybe you decide that you can skip some parts of your daily routine in this situation. The reason we value problem solving so highly is so that our pupils don’t panic, so that they can come up with the best solution at that moment.

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How do we teach this though?

How does school and Aveea Academy teach this though? We obviously don’t go through optimal routes for getting out of bed. Well, going back to maths problems, maths is exactly the kind of practice which is perfect. There are many reasons why maths is such a core part of curriculums around the world, and this is one of them. So, how exactly does solving a “useless” maths problem help us? It’s simple really, the skills required to solve the maths problem is what we’re looking for here. Not necessarily the skill itself, we of course don’t require geometry to figure out how to best brush our teeth, but the act of learning a skill and figuring out how to apply it is what’s useful.
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Maths helps us establish a new kind of mindset to approach the world with, maybe it’s in maths that you discover that the order in which you solve an equation might change the outcome. 

You can apply that to the real world too. You might need to boil some water in your daily routine, but the kettle is all the way down in the kitchen. You’ve got to change your clothes, brush your teeth, go all the way to the kitchen, but then you’ve got to wait for the kettle. Well, what if we start the kettle before all this? Is it a bit inconvenient to walk all the way to the kitchen and then back? Have we saved any time? Maybe this is just common sense to you and you do this daily, but where exactly did you develop that common sense? It’s completely possible that this is actually less efficient in time, but it’s this mindset that’s getting us thinking about possibilities which is what problem solving is all about.

What if maths isn't my cup of tea?

Perhaps maths still isn’t your cup of tea, the same thing applies to subjects like English. The English language, as many might know, is full of issues and contradictions. Understanding them and learning how to fully utilise the language will be just as much of an exercise towards developing a different mindset to approach challenges with. This also leads us to the topic of the greatest means of problem solving—communication.
Communication is key, we don’t know everything, nobody knows everything. When you’re born, you know practically nothing, and the way you accumulate knowledge is through communication. Whether that’s verbally, visually, audibly, through some manner of communication you gained the knowledge you possess today. Working together to solve a problem might seem simple, two brains are better than one, but is that always the case? Can you work together with a friend to solve 743 x 24? Well, actually yes, but will you know immediately what to do? How to divide the tasks to best solve the problem? What if it was a different problem, would you always know the best way to work together? That’s why we so often team up our pupils so that they can start getting used to working together now, so that in the future, even if they don’t know exactly what to do, they can communicate and work it out together.

At Aveea Academy, we throw challenges at pupils that might seem unusual or even seem pointless, maybe it looks as if it’s just for fun. But we hope it’s clear now that everything we do is to help further develop this problem solving mindset.

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Children need to do more than just learning new skills, skills alone can only take them so far. Applying these skills is what makes the most of them, and that’s why they need to be challenged. They need to be put in situations where they can see for themselves how these skills can be utilised, maybe they fail, that’s still progress in the grand scheme of life. Learning what’s best to do and not to do, what could be done and what can’t, Aveea Academy provides a platform for pupils to explore all of this.

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