Friday, March 18, 2011

A problem to solve or a solution to facilitate?

As teachers we are many things each day; nurse, librarian, musician, actor, listener, and so on.

My question is...should we be a problem solver?

I think not.  When you solve a problem for a child, you are removing an opportunity for intense growth.

We need to be "solution facilitators" guiding the child to become the problem solver on his/her own.

Conflict resolution is a wonderful technique for dealing with peer problems that arise.

But here I want to point out being careful about even solving what seem like insignificant problems for children.

Today C. was riding a bike.  As she came around the circle another bike was blocking her way.  She stopped, looked over at me and said, "There's a bike in my way."  I replied, "Yes, there is. There is a bike in your way."

Now she did look at me a little incredulous because I didn't rush over and move the bike.  When she kept looking at me, I said, "How are you going to solve that problem?"

She then got off her bike and moved the bike that was in the way.  It took several attempts as there was a slight incline where she was trying to move the bike, but it stayed just out of the way for her to get by.

As she rode by me, she exclaimed with pride, "Look, Dana, I moved the bike!"

I think next time C. encounters this problem she will remember how to solve it, because she solved it herself.

Pay attention to yourself next time you are in the classroom or home with your own children.  Are you a problem solver or a solution facilitator?

1 comment:

  1. I appreciate this post because it is something that I struggle with as a parent (I'm not a teacher). As my daughter is 20 months old, she is swiftly leaving behind the days when she needed me to solve every problem (mostly because ever problem involved hunger and diapers lol) and walking toward problems that she needs to solve on her own. I hope that as she grows older, I remember to be the person who asks her how she plans on solving the problem of a bike in her path. Thank you for the inspiration!