Solving a problem as a group

Identifying problems and finding steps to solve them in collaboration

This skill teaches children to work efficiently to define a task and share the responsibility and knowledge to accomplish the goal. It is a master skill that requires many of the other skills defined below such as following approved directions, paying attention to what others are saying and taking turn. This skill can teach for instance to listen to what each member of the group has to say, wait until it’s your turn to talk and say what you think, decide as a group what the problem is, what the possible solutions are and what the best choice would be and act on it, as a group.

The teacher asks the class to get into groups and solve the math problem together.

Identify what the problem is. If you have an idea let the others know, however, make sure you choose the right time to let everyone else in the group know (e.g. do not speak when someone else is speaking). Listen to everyone’s ideas and respond if necessary.

Solving everyday problems

Identifying problems and finding steps to solve them

To solve problems, a child has to think about what the problem is, think about how to deal with it, select the best option and reflect on what happened for future similar situations

You forgot you had told your friend to meet you at his place and you organised to go shopping with your mum

When your friend arrives, apologise and explain what happened. If your friend is angry try to comfort them, perhaps offer them to come shopping with you and your mum or that they can get a lift home.

Staying on task

identifying task and ignoring distraction

Focusing on what you’re doing, avoiding distraction, setting the stage so it’s easier to stay on task (go to a quiet place etc)

It’s snowing outside and your friends ask you to play a game outside but you have homework to do.

Resist distraction (tell your friends you’ll play later), think about what you need to do and why (to get good grades) and do it. You could listen to music which may help you focus on your task.

Taking turns

Waiting for your turn before talking or acting

Taking turns is important in collaborative work and this skill should teach the child to look around when it’s his/her turn to talk, think about what he/she will say or do, wait to make sure no one else is talking and finish what he/she is saying/doing before it’s someone else’s turn.

Your brother is watching a TV show and you want to watch a different show.

Be patient, don’t interrupt your brother and wait until they have finished. Once they have finished ask nicely if you can watch your show now that their show has finished.

Working independently

Task perception, goal setting and planning, enacting, and adaptation

Even in collaborative work, being able to work independently can be useful for successful collaboration.

The teacher tells you to complete an exercise on your own.

Think about the task you have been given. Think about how to achieve it on your own. Take into account your knowledge then act upon it. Evaluate and reward yourself if you complete the task.

Saying no

Identifying when and how to say No

In collaborative work, it is important to learn how and when to say no when you’re not happy with something. First, the child has to ask him/herself whether he/she wants to do what is being asked and then say No calmly and explain why.

Your friend pressures you to lie to your parents about having no homework, so you can go out tonight

Identify why you should say know (lying is wrong), calmly tell your friend ‘no’ and explain why.

Setting goals and obstaining them

Identifying and setting goals, planning and taking action to achieve them

Children who are successful at setting and achieving their goals are motivated to set higher goals and committed to following through with them.

You want to get a good grade in your next spelling test

Firstly you need to think about what you want to accomplish. Think about how you will achieve your goal, talk to friends or family if necessary. Take into account your strength and weaknesses then act on your plans. Evaluate and reward yourself if you reach your goal.

Paying attention (to what others are saying)

Keeping quiet, listening and understanding what others say

This skill involves the child to learn how to stop the current task to actively listen and pay attention and reduce distractions such as by looking at the person who is talking, listening with attention to what he/she says and think about what is being said and whether you need to do something

Your mum is telling you what the plan is for your brother’s birthday tomorrow

Listen to what your mum is saying, look into her eyes, avoid any distractions and take notes in your head or using pen and paper of what needs to be done.

Following directions

Listening to directions, planning the steps and acting on them

The skill teaches the child to look at the person who is asking him/her to follow directions, stop what he/she is doing and listen to what was said, repeat the directions out loud or to himself/herself (at least at the beginning) and follow the directions.

The teacher is telling the classroom about how to play a new game.

You should pay attention, look at the teacher, take notes either in your head or using pen and paper.

Helping others

Identifying who, why and when someone needs help, and learning how and when to help

This skill teaches children to understand what the problem is, decide if someone needs help, ask whether the person needs help and help if the answer is yes.

You notice someone trying to reach a book on the top shelves, however, they are too short to reach it. You are not.

Identify the problem, think about how you can help the other person. Approach them and offer your help, use a nice voice tone to show you are trying to help them. Remember some people may refuse help, it’s ok, just step back and walk away.