A non-formal learning program for the contribution of creative problem solving skills : a case study
McDonald, Gabriele Erika
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The purpose of this study is to examine the contribution of a non-formal learning program to the creative problem solving skills of elementary and middle school students, using a mixed method case study. This research was conducted over 14 weeks during the first semester of the 2011 – 2012 school year at a private school in Ankara, Turkey. The participants of the study consisted of 25 elementary and middle school students who had chosen the creative problem solving activity as their extracurricular activity and 50 team managers, who were also schoolteachers. A focus group consisting of six of the middle school students as observed over a period of 14 weeks to determine if the program contributed to the creative problem solving skills of the students. They were also interviewed during two of the activity sessions to get their perceptions of the program to their skills and to determine to what extent they were aware of their progress. The 50 team managers completed questionnaires on their views on the contribution of the program on the students’ skills. As quantitative support to the observations and perceptions from students and team managers, 11 tasks requiring problem solving and creative problem solving skills were given to all the elementary and middle school participants of the program, in a pre- and post-application. The results show that both students and team managers feel that the students participate in the program because it is fun, improves their problem solving skills and they are aware of their increase in skill. Team managers generally feel that students need to participate in the program for two years to observe an increase in these skills. Quantitative data supported these impressions and showed a small increase in creative problem solving skills over the 14 weeks. This increase is greater for problem solving than for creative problem solving. In conclusion, it can thus be said that the non-formal learning program does contribute to students’ problem solving skills.
KeywordsCreative problem solving
LB1590.5 .O54 2012
Problem solving in children--Study and teaching (Elementary)--Turkey.
Creative thinking in children--Study and teaching (Elementary)--Turkey.