Problem Solving And Critical Thinking

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Problem solving and critical thinking are two related skills that greatly impact student success in the classroom. However, many studies have shown that these two skills are largely underdeveloped in students. This is particularly worrisome as the current job market is filled with jobs that require individuals to be exceptional in these two areas. As technology advances, more of the “routine” jobs are being taken over by technological platforms, leaving more opportunities for people to enter the workforce in positions that require them to think on deep and complex levels. Employers now describe a “qualified person” as “someone having good command of information rather than summarizing it, reaching true information the most effectively…show more content…
Ultimately, the final answer can be judged as right or wrong (Ormrod, 2012, p. 409-410). However, when one is faced with a problem that is ill-defined, the problem solving process is a bit more complicated. When problems are ill-defined, an appropriate problem solving strategy is the use of heuristics. Heuristics are general problem solving strategies, and do not necessarily lead to a correct solution. Heuristics may be used when one is not certain of the proper algorithm to use to solve a problem, or when the problem is open-ended and does not necessarily have a right or wrong answer. Some general heuristics strategies include talking oneself through the problem, brainstorming solutions, working backwards, using analogies, and creating some type of visual image or diagram (Ormrod, 2012, p. 410-413). It is often these more open-ended problems that require the use of critical thinking, which will be discussed in more detail shortly. When learning about problem solving, it is important that one also learns about transfer. Transfer refers to the way that something a person learns in one situation affects how he learns or performs in another situation (Ormrod, 2012, p. 389-390). Problem solving is a specific form of transfer. When students learn different problem solving strategies, educators should strive to teach strategies in a way that will allow students to generalize the strategies so that
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