Someone has rightly said, “The best way to escape from your problems is to solve them.” All of us face multiple problems in our day to day life. Problem-solving skills help us to solve the hitches we face in our life. We may come across these problems at home, at school or our workplace, also problems related to society and the environment. The trickiest thing about solving problems is that no one can give us a sure-shot solution, we can just use our skills to identify the problems and reach out to the best possible solution for it. The three-step mantra to develop problem-solving is to keep your mind calm, identify the root cause of problems and practice design thinking.

Let us take these steps individually to understand the efficacy of this mantra. The calm mind automatically decreases the magnitude of the problem and we can see the actual problem without being emotionally biased. Remember the character ‘Ranchhoddas’ from the well-known Bollywood movie ‘3 Idiots’ who used to calm his mind by saying the famous dialogue ‘All izz well’ in difficult situations. That is one of the examples of the power of a calm mind. Coming to the next step, identifying the root cause of the problem is the most crucial step in solving the problem. If we ask ourself all the ‘W’s (What, Why, When, Where, Whom, Which, Who and How) related to our problem, then we get clarity on what exactly we need to do to solve it. Last but not the least, practising the design thinking process to find out multiple options we have will help us to identify the final solution. Design thinking involves connecting, predicting, questioning, researching, visualizing, inferring, monitoring and evaluating all the aspects related to the problem and possible solutions. An important point we must consider is that we can’t find solutions to our problems or problems around us by being aloof from the people, society or environment that surrounds us. We must take responsibility for our actions and must predict the consequences of our actions and possible solutions.

Let us relate this idea of developing problem thinking skills in the present scenario where the education industry is facing drastic transformation. All the stakeholders- students, teachers, leaders, parents, school management – every member is facing change and various problems at multiple levels due to this COVID-19 pandemic.

How can we effectively overcome these problems? We can think of multiple solutions if we practice the three- mantras mentioned above. Here are some of them-

For students:

Problem- How can we learn skills and enhance subject knowledge in virtual classes?

Possible solutions-

  • Follow a time table at home and stick to the schedule sent by the school.
  • Be self-motivated and get involved in the class discussions. (The only thing your teacher can instantly identify in the virtual classroom is your verbal response).
  • Take out some time for recreation and refrain from playing online games for long periods.
  • Take a lead to ask questions and clarify doubts.
  • Do not forget reading, writing and reflecting on the daily tasks and activities.

For Parents:

Problem- How can parents help in the child’s learning and development during virtual classes?

Possible solutions-

  • Help your child to follow a time table at home and make arrangements for their eating, sleeping and recreational activities time accordingly.
  • Talk to your child and ask what they have learnt. Be completely involved while conversing with them.
  • Try to understand their emotional state and give exclusive time to them on weekends (play board games, play chess, involve them gardening, cooking or physical activity with them).
  • Encourage them to get involved in meaningful activities like research and projects.
  • Be in touch with the teachers.

For Teachers:

Problem- How can we create and deliver engaging virtual lessons?

Possible solutions-

  • Be polite, considerate and calm.
  • Use easily available materials at home to create creative teaching aids.
  • Learn new skills and make use of online resources and tools for educating.
  • Connect and collaborate with various groups of educators and trainers.
  • Listen to the problem that students and parents are facing and work on the feedback.

Lastly sharing our viewpoints, understanding others problems and being empathetic towards each other will help us all to bounce back from any setbacks. Let us use our creativity, knowledge, critical thinking, emotional intelligence, teamwork, positive attitude and determination to solve the problems of this world.

By: Akanksha, Science Facilitator