ETL504 – Implementing the 7 Steps to Problem Solving

ETL504 – Module 1.3 Decision Making and Problem Solving

Primary – Relief from face to face teaching for classroom teachers is covered by the teacher librarian. This means that it is difficult to plan any collaborative teaching opportunities with the teachers. You are also concerned that the students learning in the library may not be contextually relevant to their learning in the classroom. How could you approach this problem?

See the website first at Seven Steps to Problem Solving


Ok, this is very long but it seemed it had to be to get through all 7 steps! I found this task very difficult as I am not naturally a problem solver and I don’t have permanent job experience (casual teacher here). I’ll be very interested to read what others write for this primary scenario activity. Here we go:

Step 1: Define the Problem
I see there being two problems, collaboration time and library learning relevance/connection. The goal would be to plan and allocate collaboration time with teachers, and also to link the library learning with curriculum/classroom learning. To be resolved by the beginning of the new term.

Step 2: Analyze the Problem
Done through asking questions. Did the previous TL ever collaborate? Did the previous TL connect library time with real learning? Do the teachers know it is possible to collaborate with the TL? Do the teachers feel library time is an important learning opportunity, or simply ‘babysitting prep time’? Does the school/administration encourage collaboration and linking learning? What are the students currently learning in library time? Is library time being used to its full potential?

Step 3: Identifying Possible Solutions
(I went for quantity here as the 7 Steps website told me to!)
Create time in the next staff meeting to bring up the issues and receive feedback from teachers – maybe they don’t realise there can be more linked learning. Ask teachers casually in the staffroom what they think of the current system, and if they would be willing to schedule in collaboration time. Attend Primary/Intermediate Learning Committee meetings to get to know what the classes are currently focussing on. Approach administration for access to any relief time for collaboration with teachers. Ask teachers to inform you when they are focusing on a unit so that you can prepare the library to embrace the unit and focus on in library time. Ask teachers to give students a project they must research only during library time then report back to them. Have a ‘louder voice’ in the school for the library – pinboards/website etc to try to connect the library with the school more and be seen as part of the learning and not just prep time.

Step 4 – Select the Best Solution
Oh boy, I’m not sure which solution is the best here – I actual need some outside opinion to tell me what does and doesn’t work here… I want to say that implementing many of them would be a good idea but that goes against what the 7 Steps website tells us! I’ll leave this step for now

Step 5 – Evaluating Solutions
The T-chart suggested on the website seems like a good idea for weighing pros and cons of each solution. I know many of the solutions may have the Cons of taking up teachers’ precious little time and some of who mightn’t be willing to give it up to fix the problem in the first place. The long term Pros of many of the solutions would be a change in attitude toward library time in the school and the promotion of collaboration with the TL as a teaching partner and not just ‘prep time’.

Step 6 – Develop an Action Plan
I would start the solutions with an eye on getting the solution up and running by the start of a new school term (if there’s enough time before then). I feel it would be better for teachers if the TL approached it as “I was thinking for the new term of starting…” to give them time to adjust and get accustomed to collaboration and having the TL linking in with classroom units. Contingency plan? If it works with just one teacher out of the whole school this could still be a great starting point to refine it and then present it again to staff in the following term/school year. The TL can start to show off the great linking happening with library time and classroom units they might see more legitimacy in it and come around next time you ask.

Step 7 – Implement the Solution
Schedule in the collaboration time. Access the relief time the principal might have allowed you. Get the teacher’s term plan. Start acquiring more resources that align with learning/can be used in a way to link library and classroom.
And finally evaluate, if you actually solved the problem!

Phew, that was long and difficult, but I feel it would be worthwhile if I were in a TL teaching position.


Reference List

Problem Solving. (n.d.). Home | University of Pittsburgh. Retrieved March 14, 2013, from


One thought on “ETL504 – Implementing the 7 Steps to Problem Solving

  1. Pingback: ETL504 A2 Blog Task – Critical Reflection | A TL's Learning Journal

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