In this module, we will address how to develop in young learners the two competence:
- decision-making and
- problem solving.
Life is a constant process of decision-making and a key social and life skill , and young learners need to be equipped to understand how to make decisions, otherwise others will make decisions for us by default which may produce feelings of frustration and living the life of others.
Most areas of our lives presents choices which in turn implies decision-making, which to solve problems whether big or smalls. As grow individuals and assume more responsibilities, decision-making and their implications will become more or less important depending on the people who affected by these decisions. For a company, a good or bad decision can affect its economic viability; In the family home key decisions will impact on the life chances for sons and daughters. Therefore, it is not only the people who are going to run large companies who should be trained in decision-making and problem solving, but also all the people faced with challenges decision in their personal or family sphere. In other words, the argument is that training in decision-making and problem solving are universal life skills and that it should be available to all citizens.
An additional element in taking on responsibilities in whatever area (family or professional), inevitably there will be different degrees of uncertainty and risk. No matter how much we have analyzed a situation, weighed different alternatives and considered the possible consequences of our actions, in advance , it must be accepted that there will always be occasions when one is faced with unpredictable results reflecting different levels of uncertainty and risk..
As already noted risk is inherent in life, and if accepts this reality it becomes possible to learn from the failures and successes derived from this decision-making. In this way individual effectively are enabled to take greater control of their lives and be more personally fulfilled
There are many models that aid decision-making in the face of problem solving but most revolve around the following key steps:
1.- Orientation towards the problem: Firstly an awareness-raising exercise about the nature of problems should be carried out, increasing sensitivity towards them and understanding that they are part of the human condition. In this way, a more positive attitude towards the problem or situation will be developed and hopefully damaging self-criticism avoided. for
2.- Definition and formulation of the problem: Having established a positive attitude towards solving the problem, the objective should be to analyze and contextualize the problem by collecting all the relevant information that can help us solve it. On many occasions, a poor definition of the problem is what tends to generate the most insecurity and concern.
3.- Search for alternative solutions: it is hoped that individuals can find as wide a range of solutions, to their problem as possible .To do so will require creativity and imagination to generate a large number, both in quantity and quality, of possible solutions adopting a constructive attitude without making prior value judgments towards any specific proposal.
4.- Decision making: once different alternatives / solutions to the problem have been identified the next step is to make the decision. It is at this time when an individual must consider their likely outcomes over the short, medium and long term for each respective course of action.. It is also at this point when the reversibility of a decision, its impact, should be addressed etc Clearly if a decision cannot be reversed then it is all the more important to consider all issues most carefully if delay is not possible.
5.- The last step is to implement and monitor the impact of the decision. The chosen option must be put into practice and, importantly, its effectiveness evaluated. It is necessary to be self-critical at this time and be able to reformulate solutions if the result is not as expected. As we have already mentioned, decision making has to be understood as a constant learning process and one should not hesitate or avoid taking remedial action if felt necessary.
Regardless of the model chosen to solve the problem, the decision-making process must be designed to promote confidence and a willingness to assume responsibilities in different contexts and critical moments. It can therefore be appreciated why this process is a personal life skill that promotes success in making decision-making in the personal, family and professional spheres.