21st Century Skills: Why is problem-solving the need of the hour for school students?
The 21st century is about new challenges and problems which require a new set of skills. The world around us is evolving rapidly, and children need to learn essential skills such as critical reasoning, problem solving and critical thinking. Many studies have shown that children today need to develop these skills to solve key real-world problems. Even the honorable Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi, talked about the importance of 21st-century skills and the addition of these skills in the school curriculum according to New Education Policy 2020. Because of the importance of these skills, many education institutes are trying to incorporate these skills into their curriculum. However, there are still many areas that need to be developed in this field.
HCL, a $10.1 bn global enterprise has launched a program HCL Jigsaw – India’s Premier Critical Reasoning Platform, which assesses students on key 21st-century skills with a focus on solving real world problems using problem-solving and critical thinking. HCL Jigsaw believes that the best age to learn these basic skills is during school time, when children are open to new challenges and opportunities. Therefore, the program is explicitly targeting students in grades 6-9.
This article highlights the importance of problem-solving as the need of the hour for school students, tips to improve problem-solving skills and a few creative problem-solving activities for kids.
Why is Problem-Solving The Need of The Hour for Students?
In the past, students followed a mechanical progression in education. Every year posed new challenges and concepts for them as they undertook a standardized, one-size-fits-all curriculum and examinations. Education was concerned with getting the correct answer and scoring high grades, to reach the next level. There was little room for out of the box thinking that considered innovative solutions. The more information students could retain and regurgitate, the better equipped they were for an exam, ultimately translating to their real-life success. As a result, students were kept astray from practical skills and complex real-world problems they would eventually face after finishing their formative years in school and college.
The 21st-century problems require both theoretical as well as practical knowledge to be solved. students need to think out of the box to find suitable solutions to new and upcoming challenges. Before we talk about the importance of problem-solving skills for students, let us understand what exactly 21st-century problem-solving skill means.
Problem-solving is a systematic process that involves critical reasoning and thinking to find a suitable solution to problems to achieve desired objectives. Following are the reasons why problem-solving is essential for school students:
- It helps students distinguish between solvable issues and problems that cannot be solved.
- It is necessary for preparing school students to face complex interpersonal and academic problems.
- Students who learn problem-solving skills often have a deeper understanding of causality.
- When children solve problems individually or in a group, they become more resilient. They learn to look at problems from a new perspective. Therefore, it makes them capable of taking more calculated risks.
- Problem-solving is essential to a child’s development because confident and productive children usually grow up as successful and confident adults.
- When students practice problem solving consistently, they can develop better social and situational awareness. They will also learn to manage time properly and develop patience.
- Students who learn to solve problems from childhood are curious, resourceful, and determined.
- Employers always demand individuals who can work in a group and can jump out of their inherent thinking mode, especially since many of the challenges that the world faces today are unique and new.
The World Economic Forum has also recognized problem-solving skills as one of the ten essential 21st-century skills. A focus on problem-solving during the school years helps students be more resourceful, confident, and think methodically. It enables students to find constructive and unique solutions to the problems of current times. Parents and teachers need to focus on these skills for their child’s overall development
Some Creative Problem-Solving Activities for Children
Impromptu Skits: Thisactivity involves creating slips for different real-world situations like angry customers, fraud in the company, etc., and then ask the kids to pick any slip and enact a skit on the given situation.
Tower Building: This group activity requires the group to make the tallest tower using building blocks within the given time.
Alphabet Animal Game: Ask the kids to make a big circle and shout various animal names alphabetically one by one. If any kid takes more than 5 seconds, then that kid is out, and the circle gets smaller in size.
Tips to Improve Problem Solving, Creative Thinking and Critical Reasoning Skills
Following are a few tips of improve the problem-solving skills of school studentsand make them more resourceful and competent individuals to solve 21st-century problems:
- Let children think outside the box and find unique and creative solutions to challenging problems.
- Encourage decision-making by empowering them to handle different situations.
- Explain the benefits of group work and invite them to participate in group activities.
- Let children express their opinions and ideas in public and avoid intervening as it might hamper their confidence.
- Try asking students open-ended questions and problems as it helps children learn creative thinking skills.
- Enroll with HCL Jigsaw to teach children essential group activity problem-solving, critical reasoning, and creative thinking skills. This will help prepare confident and competent individuals who are ready to face real-world 21st-century problems.
HCL Jigsaw aspires to build a community of young problem-solvers from Grades 6–9 through a pan-India problem-solving assessment program. Students are judged on three core competencies within problem-solving: how well they define a problem, communicate it, and think critically about synthesizing information, drawing conclusions, and proposing solutions. Learn more about the exciting learning journey offered by HCL Jigsaw and register before June 30, 2021 for this unique opportunity.