P.A.C.E. - a Student Problem Solving Procedure That Works

Article excerpt

Students should be taught a viable means by which they can independently solve problems. The most effective approaches to teaching by the P.A.C.E. method include teacher soliloquy, role playing, and group processes.

Teaching the P.A.C.E. method of problem solving is easy, simple for students to remember and apply, and yet profound in its desired effects upon their thinking and reasoning skills. Students should be taught that

P stands for Problem A stands for Alternatives C stands for Consequences E stands for Evaluation

The P.A.C.E. method appeals to students from early adolescence through high school and is a problem solving approach that can serve them for their entire lives.

With practice students will mature into the kind of problem solvers that teachers and parents desire.

That students of this generation are confronted with a myriad of personal and complex problems is a commonly accepted consensus among professional educators. Yet that same consensus does not exist when those same educators are asked how young people should set about dealing with and solving their problems. This author would suggest that teachers should consider teaching their students a simplistic yet invaluable approach to solving their own problems. It is rewarding because it is easy to teach, simple for students to remember, equally simple to apply, and yet profound in its effects on those using it.

P.A.C.E. is an acronym for the process by which students are to approach any personal or professional problem which confronts them.

P stands for Problem A stands for alternatives C stands for consequences E stands for evaluation

Whether the problem involves something a student is contemplating doing (using or selling drugs, engaging in pre-marital sex, shoplifting, cheating on a test, lying to his parents, staying out past curfew, ad infinitum) or something he has already done, the approach is the same.

It is imperative that students first be taught to clearly define the problem. Until the problem is clearly understood in the student's mind, it is not possible to consider all of the alternatives available as a response to the problem. At this point in the instructional process it should be clear that role playing in the classroom is one of the most effective approaches to demonstrating how P.A.C.E. can work in their lives. The teacher can do this in a soliloquy fashion, speaking out loud as the student audience hears him define the problem and consider each of the possible alternatives and its inherent consequences.

A second and equally effective approach is to have a role play in which the teacher acts as the counselor and one of the students acts as the counselee. The process is best employed by allowing the student/counselee to identify the problem and the teacher/counselor assist in its specific refinement as needed. Likewise, the student/counselee should be asked what he perceives to be the alternatives in solving/dealing with the problem. Should the counselee overlook a viable alternative, the responsibility of the teacher/counselor is to raise or suggest those perceived as additional alternatives. …