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The Problem Solvers

by Charles Leadbeater


The Problem Solvers argues that education modelled on "following instruction" ill serves young people facing a world in which they will have to be creative problem solvers, addressing challenges for which there is no manual. 

The report, based on visiting and talking to a host of schools around the world, argues that we cannot teach problem solving in traditional ways, we have to give young people powerful experiences of what it involves. They have to learn by doing it.

Those experiences are what I call dynamic learning because they involve young people both acquiring and deploying knowledge, but also developing personal strengths, such as resilience; social capability, such a collaboration and the capacity to take action, to make, serve and create. A good education should develop all four of these ingredients, together and in combination. That is what you see in the dynamic schools profiled in the report, in activities design and activated by dynamic teachers. 

Can this dynamic, action oriented, problem solving approach to learning spread and scale? It already it. My conclusion is that there is a growing global movement of students, teachers, employers, researchers, foundations and policy-makers exploring this space, to create experiences of learning which are both highly self-disciplined and yet highly creative.