HELPING LEARNERS DEVELOP THINKING SKILLS THROUGH SOLVING SMALL PROBLEMS AND PUZZLES

A.M. Andreou, V. Kalogerou

University of Nicosia (CYPRUS)
This paper refers to a work package created within the European research project Tempus: English for All in Academia Project No. 510941 TEMPUS 1-2010-1-IL-TEMPUS-SMHES, which resulted in the development of the "Thinking Skills” course. This course was offered in nine academic institutions in Israel and Europe in the academic year 2011-2012 and was designed to help students solve various kinds of problems using "theory of inventive problem solving" (TRIZ) principles. Through solving small problems / puzzles, students learn how to develop their thinking skills and inventiveness by utilizing thinking algorithms as a main tool for problem solving and decision making in various academic fields and daily lives.

The thinking algorithms will then be presented and practised during “Researcher’s Night” that is being organized by the Research Promotion Foundation of Cyprus for the 8th year. This event is geared to researchers in Cyprus to introduce to the public their work and to promote research and its significance for the modern world. The remit in the event requires that the public will have the opportunity to participate to research experiments and look inside a researcher’s work. In this paper, problem solving methods and their components will be described by introducing models of problems, thinking tools for solving problems (TRIZ) and models of solutions, and their impact on the learners’ development of problem solving and decision making skills will be discussed.