Simple Creative Problem-Solving Method to Implement Personalized Learning

Updated: May 2

How do we integrate personalized learning without a complete turn around of our teaching?

It begins with being courageous to ask simple questions and willing to experience. I once wrote that “children are a riddle well worth solving”. Let’s try a creative problem solving approach to the following question: How do I tailor for each student the educational efforts they need within the curriculum for promoting social emotional learning in a PBL approach?

Let’s use the 5 E’s as benchmarks.

1. Explore – A simple questionnaire for students could give us a lot of information at the beginning of the year. You could do that as an online questionnaire, to win the hearts of today's children and youth. Here are 2 simple questions to ask: a. What do you find intriguing about the materials we are going to learn this year? b. What learning task would you like to do about this material?

This step is parallel to clarifying in creative problem solving.

The ideation part is done by the students.

2. Experience – try letting each child produce the learning task according to what they have suggested. Develop the learning tasks they wanted to do with the eyes of the educator, just enough to throw the ball back to them. Use the 5 E’s to guide them through producing a quality educational product.

Guide them to:

a. Explore – Thoroughly research

b. Experience – play in their minds with the information they have gathered searching for original connections.

c. Examine – Run through what they have researched and check out the new information in relation to the whole subject matter.

d. Elevate – Try to see if learning material from another chapter or subject can shed light on what they have researched.

e. Express – Present what they have researched and the ideas they drew on in the kind of learning task they have preferred.

Support the students in this creative problem-solving stage of implementation. They might need a clue as to what learning material to explore further, or just an empathetic smile.

3. Examine – When evaluating the educational products consider both how they have reflected mastery of the learning material and creativity aspects such as thoroughness of inquiry into the information, magnitude of novel ideas, and originality.

4. Elevate – Return the educational products to the students with the question: What learning task do you want to do now to take this inquiry to the next step?

This is taking the creative problem-solving process back to clarifying. But before starting the creative cycle once again be sure to make the best gain out of this one:

5. Express – If possible let the students present their educational products to the class, the parents or relevant people from the community. If not, consider letting them present their products to a group of classmates that have explored related material. This sum-up wouldn’t take too much time and effort, while it could deepen the learning and inspire towards the next task.

Well, we haven’t ran a complete creative problem-solving process, nor have we solved the riddle of children's creativity. But we are one simple step further toward personalized learning that is relevant, curious and intrinsically motivating.

Take the time to let those new ideas incubate. Write down every now and then your ideas on how to implement such teaching. Cherish small ideas. They accumulate into great ones.

With best wishes,

Michelle Korenfeld

Raising Creative Thinkers

21st Century Project-Based and Social-Emotional Learning lesson plans, stimulating teacher training, teaching tools, and best children’s STEAM book

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