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It is important to place the barriers front and center so they can be addressed.Sometimes these barriers are mental, such as when a student says, 'I can't do the math'.
When we think of problem-solving, many of our minds jump to the dreaded word problems in math class.
Some of us may have easily wrapped our heads around dissecting and solving the problem. Today, teaching problem-solving in our classrooms goes beyond focusing on math word problems.
Their evaluation may lead them to revise their solutions, which is a normal part of the problem-solving process.
In the math classroom, word problems usually present the most straightforward opportunity for students to engage in problem-solving strategies.
Next is an often-overlooked step: having students identify any barriers between them and a solution.
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A barrier is any impediment that stands between the student and their creation of a solution to the problem.
Rachel Tustin has a Ph D in Education focusing on Educational Technology, a Masters in English, and a BS in Marine Science.
She has taught in K-12 for more than 15 years, and higher education for ten years.
Students' problem-solving skills are influenced by everything they bring physically, mentally, and socio-economically to the table.
As an educator, you want to recognize those factors so you can appropriately support students in the problem-solving process.