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The Most Needed Skill of the 21 CENTURY

Oscar in a session while searching for words through a word puzzle

We live in an era that is increasingly being defined by change – in terms of both its speed and its spread. A lot of technologies become absolute in a short time, which  renders certain statements not applicable as such; “ Go to school, attain good grades, get a good job, then live a happy life”. While as we witness new approaches to do certain things, this puts a world in a position where only the creative thinkers and problem solvers will survive. 

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And as the world changes fast, a lot more problems are created on the way and therefore, this creates opportunities for people with the skill of solving problems to become the favorites of their societies.

Are we doing we enough to prepare problem solvers today so that they can fit into the puzzle of the future that is a head of us?

Taken during Faces Up Uganda’s Saturday Mentorship session

 Whether you will be a farmer in your farm, or a lawyer in your chamber or be it  a driver in the public service vehicles, there is no possibility for you to run away from  problem solving, at least if you can escape it today, it will catch up with you some other time.

Below is what we think is important for your child to grow in them the first or if not the second most needed skills of the 21 century.

The art of Problem solving: Before we can dive into it further, know this: 

Problem solving requires mental, analytical and  creative skills. It is the process of working through details of a problem to reach a solution and  be a gauge of an individual’s critical thinking skills. Here is how you can set grounds for this skill.

• Show your child a willingness to make mistake. Everyone encounters problems and can mess up and it’s okey.

• Sometimes the first solution you try wonʼt work, and thatʼs okay too!

Kids who feel overwhelmed or hopeless often won’t attempt to discuss a problem. But, when you give them a clear formula for solving problems, they’ll feel more confident in their ability to try.

Steps to problem-solving:

1. Identify the problem. Just stating the problem out loud can make a big difference for kids who are feeling stuck.

2. Develop at least five possible solutions. Brainstorm possible ways to solve the problem. Empathize  that all the solutions don’t necessarily need to be good.

3.  Identify the pros and cons of each solution. Help your child find potential positive and negative consequences for each potential of solution she identified.

4. Pick a solution. Once your child has evaluated the possible positive and negative outcomes, urge her to pick a solution.

5. Test it out. Tell her to try a solution and see what happens. If it doesn’t work out, she can always  try another solution from the list that she developed in step two.

Why should your child know how to solve problems?.

Children face a variety of problems every day, ranging from academic difficulties to problems on the sports field. But as they grow, problems become much more complex.

There is a need to groom the children to solve their own problems. Do you know that  teaching a child problem solving skills can improve mental health? 

To be able to make decisions. When faced with a problem, one has to come up with different options for solutions from which one makes a decision and before taking a decision, one has to weigh the pros and cons of a decision to be taken.

Here, children will show willingness to solve the problem, rather than investing their time in avoiding  the issue.

A girl during her first attempt to draw a portait.

When problems arise, donʼt rush to solve your childʼs problems for them. Instead, help him walk through the problem-solving steps. Offer guidance when he needs help,  but encourage him or her to solve problems on his or her own. If they are unable to come up with a solution, step in and help him think of solutions. But do not automatically tell him what to do that way independent problem solving will be futile and you will not have to always step in and bail your child.

Written and compiled by Emmanuel Kalule and Nabayinda Juliet

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