Problem solving/dealing with a setback

General Description of the Module:

Sometimes things go wrong. Whether you are trying to achieve a goal, or organising an event, setbacks are a normal part of life. In this module, you will discuss how to deal with a setback and learn effective problem solving strategies. Problem solving skills are also essential when planning, organising and implementing global citizenship activities and actions – a lot of the time you need to be really creative and think strategically in order to be able to make a change in your community, country, or even the world.

Activity: Solve a problem

Specific Objectives:

  • To understand the main steps of problem solving.
  • To be able to solve an issue, using problem solving steps.

Duration: 40 minutes

Resources: Solve a Problem Activity Sheet, pens.

Description of the activity:

  1. Start by discussing setbacks. Have you ever encountered a setback while trying to achieve your goals? What did you do? What do you usually do when dealing with a problem? Is it helpful?
  2. Review the problem solving steps below:
    1. Define the problem.
    2. What do you want to achieve? (What will happen when the problem is solved?)
    3. Generate possible solutions. (Try brainstorming or use similar methods that you may know to generate different ideas or solutions).
    4. Explore the solutions.
      • Are they realistic?
      • What are the consequences – good or bad?
      • Will it help me solve my problem?
    5. Carry out the solution.
  3. In small groups or individually, use the Activity Sheet to solve a problem by using the steps outlined above. If you want, you can use a real life situation instead.

After the activity:

After completing the activity, take some time to reflect on your experience. Think about or write down answers to these reflection points:

  • Did I learn something new? If yes, what?
  • What skills did I improve?
  • How could I apply those skills or knowledge in my life? (Think of a few examples)

Suggestion and tips for facilitation:

Please feel free to adapt the scenario or activity to suit your student’s age and learning styles.

This module is closely related to Solving a disagreement, Stress management and Motivating others modules.

Solve a problem activity sheet

Problem situations:

  1. You and your friends are preparing a group presentation for homework. Three days before the presentation is due, one of your group members gets sick. You all have different tasks to do for the presentation, and his was the most important. Without his part, you will get a really bad grade. What do you do?
  2. You and your classmates are organizing a concert for mothers day. However, the day before the event, you are informed that the school hall, where you were planning to have the concert, will not be available. What do you do?
  3. On a break between lessons, you notice a class friend being bullied by older students. What do you do?
  4. You and you classmates are working on a project together. The teacher has assigned a team leader for each group, and yours is very bossy and difficult to work with. Your team mates feel annoyed and you are having difficulties completing the task. What do you do?

Select one of the scenarios (or think of your own) and solve the problem using the problem solving sheet below and have in mind the problem solving steps discussed previously.