Continue reading Boost Problem-Solving and Analytical Thinking in Students: Top Skills for Success in 2023">

Problem-Solving and Analytical Thinking are declared the top job skills by the World Economic Forum. But 47 % of Indian students aren’t ready for future jobs, most of which require these 21st century skills (India Today Report). Are your students ‘future-ready’? Find out in this article as we dig deeper into the need for problem-solving and analytical skills in 2023. Keep reading for playful activity ideas your students will enjoy.
Problem-solving starts by asking
What,
Why, and
How.
So first, let’s make problem-solving and analytical skills clear to you.

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What are Analytical and Problem-Solving Skills?

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Analytical thinking means understanding a big problem by breaking it down into smaller parts. Then you study the relationship between them and make connections.

To think analytically, you need analytical skills.

Problem-solving is defined as spotting a problem, thinking about its possible solutions, testing them, analyzing results, and deciding the best solution.

To solve a problem, you should have good problem-solving skills.

Do both these skills sound the same?
Well, they aren’t.

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Difference Between Analytical and Problem-Solving Skills

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The difference between problem-solving and analytical skills is that analytical thinking is looking closely at something to understand it better, while problem-solving is finding a way to fix a problem.

Both analyses and problem-solving skills involve using your brain to figure things out. But analytical thinking is the ‘magnifying lens’ you need to solve a problem.

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Why Make Students Analytical Problem Solvers?

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Here comes the importance of analytical problem-solving skills for students.

When children solve problems on their own, they gain confidence. When they think analytically, they understand and remember concepts better.
The Indian govt. is revolutionizing the education system. You’ve already seen changes in curriculum and educational policies- fostering strong problem-solving and analytical skills in children. As per the National Education Policy (2020), you must focus on developing rational thinking, scientific temper, and creative imagination.

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Analytical Problem Solving- Top Skill for Student Success in 2023

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Till class 12th, students are dependent on teachers. Once they finish school, they face real-world problems– personal and workplace conflicts, financial crises, and competitive exams and interviews like IAS and CAT.

To succeed in 2023, your students need curiosity, determination, out-of-the-box thinking, and an understanding of complex problems.

All of this develops by having an analytical problem-solving mindset.

PM Modi has also time and again talked about the importance of problem-solving skills in the 21st century.

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It is necessary to develop a greater learning spirit, scientific and logical thinking, mathematical thinking, and scientific temperament among youngsters.

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Now comes the How.

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How to Develop Analytical and Problem-Solving Skills in Students?

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Follow these tips to make students better problem-solvers:

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Present Mathematics as a Problem-Solving Tool

Whichever subject you teach, relate Maths to it. Tell students how they can solve most of their problems with Maths. Time management and financial issues can be solved with Mathematics.
Setting up mathematical tasks, understanding problems, devising strategies, and checking solutions help build problem-solving abilities in children, suggests the NCF (2022).

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Teach First Principal Thinking

Do you know Elon Musk? He’s one of the most successful men in the world. Musk self-studied space and cars and built his companies from scratch. Teach his problem-solving technique—First Principal Thinking— to your students.
Which is-

  • First, think deeply about a problem before jumping to solve it.
  • Then break down the problem and reach the most basic level.
  • Create new solutions.

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Scaffolding

If you ask students to solve a problem from scratch, they’ll hesitate. Instead, use the scaffolding technique to boost their analytical thinking and problem-solving competency. Give them prompts or half-solved problems. They’ll solve the rest.

For example, in a History lesson on Monuments of India, show a documentary on famous buildings. Then take a short open-book quiz. Discuss the architecture and history in class, and answer student questions. Now retake the quiz and ask students to create a scrapbook on 5 historical monuments.

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Provoking and Challenging

Children enter the classroom with cultural and economical biases. Like girls are supposed to get married and look after their families.
Challenge their assumptions and thoughts. When you question their beliefs and give alternate points of view, their problem-solving and analytical mindset will develop.

For example, an English teacher can teach stories in different ways by asking thought-provoking questions. Ask open-ended questions about the main characters. If the hero did wrong, what will happen? Had you been in the story what would you do?

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Encourage the Habit of Researching

Problem-solving becomes easier when students deeply research the problem from all angles. Provide them with the right books and resources for their study. Suggest books and authentic online journals where they can read about the topics.

Tell them about the digital libraries and online resources in India- the National Digital Library of India and the Delhi University Library System.

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Activities to Help Students Become Analytical Problem Solvers.

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Want some fun activities?
Pick up your favorites from this list of games to promote analytical thinking and problem-solving ability in your classroom.

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For Primary school

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Gol Mol:

Ask riddles from different subjects so students relate and integrate multiple subjects together.

Like science riddles in which Maths is also use

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Frayers Model:

Use it to teach new vocabulary or Math problem-solving.

Write a new word or Math question in the middle.
Make four boxes around it- Meaning, Characteristics, Examples, and Non-examples.

Suppose you write Cuboid in the middle.
Write definitions and characteristics for students.
They’ll write the examples and non-examples of cuboids.

Frayers Model is a good exercise to help students think analytically and to conclude concepts.

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Jigsaw Puzzles:

Divide a big concept into mini concepts. Then make groups. Give each group reading material for one small part. One student from each group will become the expert. Now each group will teach their part to the others.

Read on to learn more ideas.

Promote an analytical approach to problem-solving in middle-aged children.

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For Middle school

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Gap Fill-In:

This is a good activity for creative problem-solving.

Give a picture to students.
On the top of the picture, they’ll write what’s happening in it.
Below they’ll write what they think is happening.
In between the blank space, they’ll write how they came to the conclusion.

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Jingle/ Rap Song Making:

Ask students to pick a problem they care about.
For example, they choose animal cruelty.
Now they’ll make a rap song or jingle and sing it in the class.

More problem-solving and analysis skills games.

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For Secondary/High School

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Impromptu Debate:

Give topics to students and ask them to prepare. Reverse the topic on the day of the debate. Give some preparation time. This will make students think analytically from all possible angles.

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Mind Mapping:

Mind maps are great for teaching problem-solving for big tasks.

Ask students to organize a farewell party. They’ll brainstorm all ideas on a mind map.

Theme, timings, budget, decorations, food, performances, and invitation.

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How to Check if Students Think Analytically?

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Teaching is not enough, it’s important to assess if your students are developing an analytical mindset.

How to do it?

Observe and keep records of their progress.
Analyze the projects they’ve made. How much time did they take? How involved they were.
Discuss social issues in India- Poverty, Unemployment. Ask them if they can identify the problems.

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Conclusion

Did you notice?
The first step to problem-solving and analytical thinking is asking the right questions.

Lead Students to Ask ‘Why, What, How?’
Encourage them to ask questions in every step of analytical problem-solving.
Understanding- What is known or unknown?
Planning- What can I do?
Solving- What steps will I take? Can I do it better?
Checking- Did I answer the question?


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