Solving Problems with Problem Solving

“When you do something out of love, you don’t count the cost.” 

Today is Tuesday, no Physics class for 12-Confucius (STEM) (since they only have Physics classes 4 times a week). I gave a summative quiz yesterday on 1-D motion. Though their papers have not been checked, one of them sent me a message on facebook last night if I could do her and some other timid classmates a remedial class for they don’t feel confident about their problem solving skills.  

I feel bad for not being able to diagnose that they are having such difficulty earlier for I’m afraid I pressumed that they knew how to manipulate the kinematic equations since it is a competency in Grade 9 Science. I could have helped them before giving the quiz if I knew better. One more thing is that they were not able to practice during the weekend for they didn’t access the problems posted in our edmodo classroom intended for self-test. These unfortunate events lead to a reason of not feeling confident about performace in Physics.

On the other hand, I am also grateful that they approached me for a tutorial even the quiz is over. That means they do not care about the numbers they’ll get from the quiz but they are more interested in knowing what they really don’t know. I admire these students for being brave enough to accept the things that they don’t know and have the initiative do something about it. They could have let it pass just like any passive learner always does, have means to trick their minds that the topic is irrelevant so why waste time understanding something you can’t? But they came on their vacant time which is often spent for their pleasure. As an educator, I cannot resist such request for it is my job to cure ignorance and quench a thirsty mind. We don’t have much facilities too and no vacant room to use so we stayed under the shade of the trees. From there I shared some basic problem solving techniques like illustrating the problem, identifying the variables, and  choosing the right formula for these fundamental steps are where they are having the most difficulty. They cannot advance to solving the problem for they are stuck even at the beginning so I emphasized in understanding the problem in order to achieve  desired results.

 I heard in a seminar that the illiterates of the 21st Century are no longer those who doesn’t know how to read and write but those who are not willing to learn. These kind of students embody the 21st Century Learners hallmark; the eagerness to learn. 

I learned that I shall not assume what the learners really know unless proven by data. I wish I could devote more time to assess what the learners need to know more and I can customize enough activities suited for their needs. 

I hope more students will be like them, brave enough to take actions for things they don’t know…not necessarily asking for their teacher’s help but means in which they can fill missing gaps we teachers sometimes fail to fill inside the class.

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