[Student Activity] Teach Students Problem-Solving Skills with SEL

We make decisions every day. We set goals, encounter challenges, and find ways to work through obstacles toward a solution. Some problems are easy, like deciding what color shirt to wear. Other problems are more complex and require deeper problem-solving skills.

According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers’ (NACE) Job Outlook 2018 survey, problem-solving skills and teamwork rank at the top of employers’ most-desired skills in prospect employees. Unfortunately, many students have difficulty applying problem-solving skills toward academics and job duties.

The good news: social and emotional learning (SEL) can help. When students learn effective decision-making skills, they can identify a problem, consider ways to overcome it, and execute a plan to work through the issue.

SEL In Action

Aperture Education’s SEL growth strategies can teach students how to overcome challenges in a healthy and productive way. Try the Think-It-Through actvity, where students learn how to work through problems by following this sequence of steps:

  1. Name the situation and identify the problem
  2. Calm themselves and focus on thinking clearly
  3. Think about what outcome they want
  4. Consider several things they can do to accomplish their goal
  5. Create an action plan
  6. Ask for help or advice when needed
  7. Execute the plan
  8. Reflect on how well the plan worked

This activity can be used individually, with small groups, or universally. Giving students opportunities to practice this model will strengthen their problem-solving skills and teach them how to apply the model in different situations, not just at school but in other areas of their lives as well. Group work also gives students the benefit of hearing their peers’ ideas and thoughts, which can expand students’ thinking and empower their own decision-making.

In order to thrive in school as well as today’s workplace, students need to learn critical problem-solving skills and know how to apply them in different situations. Many students need more help developing these skills, and SEL can provide the tools for working through problems in a calm, proactive way. The Think-It-Through Graphic Organizer provides a constructive framework for students to learn these important skills.

Aperture Education has developed numerous growth strategies and foundational practices to support all of the critical SEL constructs. Contact our SEL advisors to get additional ideas on how to support your students’ SEL growth and development.