During a recent 10-day trip to Osaka, Japan my laptop computer went “on the fritz.”  It just stopped working without a hint of “hey, get ready to shut down because I am going to crash soon.”

So, I began a series of solutions assuming some strategy would actually work. First, I tried to start it up again hoping for a rebirth; second I searched on the web on my iPhone for fixes others found helpful and tried them; third I left the laptop alone for a 24-hour period hoping such a rest would bring it back to life; and fourth I e-mailed my computer advisor back home and he suggested a four-finger restart strategy.  Well, none of these strategies worked and I finally gave up and used my iPhone and iPad for the remaining time in Osaka.

Upon my return home, I immediately dropped my laptop off at my computer advisor’s office and am now awaiting a solution that brings it back to life.

As I reflect on this dilemma, I believe it fairly represents how I typically respond to challenges namely that when a problem occurs I respond first by trying to resolve it myself, then seek solutions others have tried and then consult an expert.

This process works for me, or I would not consistently use it to address and solve problems. How do you respond to problems?  Is your first solution more collaborative than solutions I initially employ?  Do you consult an expert earlier than I do?  Or do your solutions depend on the circumstances of the problem and/or the availability of others?

Since problem-solving is one of the “soft skills” expected of high school graduates and employers identify as an attribute of successful employees we should all take time to consider how we address things that go “on the fritz.”

We may find validation for our current problem-solving strategies or determine there are better resolutions to problems we encounter.  Either way will assist us to respond to problems we will encounter and ensure there are resolutions as things go “on the fritz.”

Terry Pickeral
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Terry Pickeral

Terry Pickeral, has extensive experience in policy development, advocacy, education reform, youth leadership, teaching and learning strategies, education collaborations, evaluation and civic development. His commitment is to ensuring schools create and sustain quality teaching and learning environments for all students to be successful in school and contribute to their communities as active principled citizens.
Terry Pickeral
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