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Act of Teaching

Chapter 13: Problem-Solving Skills of Effective Teachers

What is a Problem?
- A goal-response interference
What kind of Classroom-Related Problems Do Teachers Face?
1. Affiliation- the teachers need to establish and maintain good relationships with others in
the school.
2. Control- the teachers need to have students behave well or appropriately.
Five Principles that makes Control less of a Problem:
Pursue only classroom goods that are truly important and attainable- modify or scale
down overly ambitious intentions.
Analyze the factors that may be affecting the problem situation- the more we know about
the circumstances of a problem, the more likely we will be able to select and employ
effective techniques to resolve it.
Use positive techniques for managing behavior- teaching students what is expected of
them and recognizing and awarding subsequent desirable behavior. Also, students must
have a clear understanding of behavioral expectations and their importance.
Use punishment sparingly and appropriately- Use only punishment that works, use only
as much as necessary, and make certain students know what is behavior is inappropriate
and conversely, what is acceptable.
Teach students to manage their own business- Teach them self-control. Self-control
means having students behave appropriately in the absence of external control.
3. Parent Relationships and home conditions- Most families and caregivers have great
influence on children. Therefore, being able to involve parents constructively in their
childs education, it is more likely that improved attendance, achievement, and behavior
will follow.
-Parents and guardians, not teachers, control home condition.
-Home conditions may be beyond the control of parents.
4. Student Success- the need teachers have to help learners achieve both academically and
-This is an important goal because when teachers are successful in attaining it, you meet
your secondary or learned needs for achievement, status, and acceptance in the teaching
Kinds of Success Problems:
-Includes those related to insufficient student interest, working with students who have
special needs, and a teachers own instructional shortcomings.
Obstacle to Student Success:
Four obstacles to achieving student success:
1. Knowledge about teaching is at best sketchy.
2. Students individual differences.
3. Schools have many, often vague goals, and not all of them are consistent with
student learning.
4. Teaching is greater than the sum of its parts.
Teacher Behaviors Linked to Student Success
Teacher Attributes and Behaviors that are linked to Student Success: clarity, enthusiasm,
being businesslike and work oriented, using instructional variety.
5. Time
-Lack of time represents a serious problem for teachers.
-Since time is finite, we must learn to use it better.
1. Know yourself- Know your personal and professional needs. Know your optimal
work times. Know your sleep and exercise needs.
2. Know your goals- Are some in conflict with others, causing you to be
counterproductive? Are your goals realistic?
3. Know your work environment- What aspects of teaching can you control in order to
use time better?
4. Plan- Do you plan in order to maximize your productivity and leisure?
5. Learn to set priorities and to say no- Have you decided what is important, do you say
no when other things try to intrude?
6. Know your support system- Are you aware of the kind of human and material help
that may be available to you?
7. Concentrate- Do you reserve time and space for uninterrupted concentration?
8. Act, dont procrastinate- Do you indulge yourself or socialize to avoid work?
Preventing and Resolving Classroom Problems:
-Teachers must already possess or acquire specific abilities. Some of the abilities we need in
order to prevent problems.
-Gaining as many of the abilities as possible will put you in an enviable position in any
-A problem is solved or resolved only when you are able to either give up the goal (need or want)
or get closer to it-while at the same time, you avoid unpleasant side effects.
The Problem-Solving Approach (PSA)- consists of five stages and 10 steps:
Stage 1: Problem Identification and ownership- it is essential that the problem, goal, and the
ownership of both be clear. The first three steps are to:
1. State the Problem: What is it that is bothersome to you?
2. Identify the goal(s): What specifically do you need or want to have happen that is not
3. Identify the problems owner: Who was the problem? Who needs or wants the goal?
Obviously, if it is your goal that is blocked, it is your problem.
Stage 2: Value clarification: Once the problem has been identified and its ownership established,
the fourth step is to:
4. Value the goal: Do you really care so much about the goal to continue to pursue it?
Stage 3: Analysis of the problem situation: Assuming that you have found the goal worthy of
pursuit, you now enter the problem-analysis stage. The three steps in this stage require that you:
5. Identify the obstacles preventing you from accomplishing your goal. What specifically
seems to stand between your goal and its accomplishment?
6. Project strategies for removing, overcoming, or circumventing the obstacle(s).
7. For each of the potential solutions, list possible negative side effects or consequences.
Remember that it is one thing to get your way and another to get it in a manner that
harms you or someone else. You could win the battle but lose the war.
Stage 4: Rating the potential solutions- Project strategies for reaching your goal and identified
possible harmful side effects. Now:
8. Rate each proposed solution to arrive at the best one or ones. Remember, a good solution
is one that gains or puts you closer to your goal without causing unpleasant side effects.
Stage 5: Implementing and evaluating the best solution-
9. Decide how you would implement the best solution. What precisely would you do?
10. Decide the extent to which the solution has brought you closer to your goal, thus reducing
or eliminating your problem.
Developing a Problem-Solving Attitude:
Have a lets solve this approach.
Refuse to blame others for their inability to gain a goal
Accept their problems and respond, I have a problem. How do I solve it?
Focus on the present or future rather than bemoan the past.
Replace the natural emotion, visceral reactions to a problem with goal-oriented,
thoughtful ones; they get the problem out of their stomach and into their head.
Refrain from jumping to conclusions or solutions.
Search for new approaches, deviate from old habits, and avoid the obvious.
Search for new approaches, deviate from old habits, and avoid the obvious.
Expect disagreements and accept and respect the views of others.
Ask what they themselves can do to reach their goals rather than depending upon others
to act on their behalf.
Accepting approximations to a goal: Half a load is better than none.
Work toward bettering already satisfactory situations to ensure the remain so.
Consciously make use of available time for problem solving.

Cruickshank, Donald R., Deborah Bainer. Jenkins, and Kim K. Metcalf. The Act
of Teaching. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill, 2012. Print. (p.440-458)