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5-10 minutes






To empower students to think about achieving a particular goal and manage their mental processes in solving problems and managing conflicts

  • Look for opportunities during class to identify problems and highlight how students can work through them towards a solution (coaching required):
    • Name the problem for the class.
    • Ask the students to work through and provide resolutions to the problem.
    • When there are options for the solution and one is selected, say: “Do you see how you …” by naming what it is they did to solve the problem.
  • Look for chances to share problems and use the process to have students work through the problems.
  • Use a class visual to record the strategies students used for future reference.

Ask students to think about a time over the past week (or day) when there has been a difference of opinion or conflict and how they made use of the “Solve that problem” practice.

Problem solving is an everyday skill that impacts all parts of a student’s academic and personal success (Diamond & Lee, 2011). Students with strong problem-solving skills are more able to approach problems positively (Diamond & Lee, 2011). Ideally, students develop a foundation of social problem-solving skills that allow them to manage choice making and complex social interactions with skilled decision making through repeated practice (Daunic, et. al, 2012; Diamond & Lee, 2011). Research suggests that coding target behaviour within a relational frame, coupled with encouragement from others, leads to increases in school achievement and social competencies (Daunic, et. al, 2012; Diamond & Lee, 2011; Embry & Biglan, 2008).

Daunic, A. P., Smith, S. W., Garvan, C. W., Barber, B. R., Becker, M. K., Peters, C. D., … & Naranjo, A. H. (2012). Reducing developmental risk for emotional/behavioral problems: A randomized controlled trial examining the Tools for Getting Along curriculum. Journal of school psychology, 50(2), 149-166.

Diamond, A., & Lee, K. (2011). Interventions shown to aid executive function development in children 4 to 12 years old. Science, 333(6045), 959-964.

Embry, D. D., & Biglan, A. (2008). Evidence-based kernels: fundamental units of behavioral influence. Clinical child and family psychology review, 11(3), 75–113. doi:10.1007/s10567-008-0036-x