When a student comes to me, the first step in the process is developing what is called a Personal Business Plan (PBP). Using the PBP the student is brought into the process of setting goals and organizing a plan of action to achieve these goals. Students are introduced to Wholistic Problem Solving as a way to examine their own process of goal setting, organization and achievement. Over time these steps will be used as a way to analyzed and address academic, social and behavioral problems, as well as personal goals the student sets for themselves. Through the process of learning a practical neurologically based problem solving technique and utilizing it to address problems across a wide verity of situations students develop a problem solving mindset that can counter act the deleterious effect of learned helpless that often accompanies learning disabilities. The student begins to realize the personal patters in their problem solving that are indicative of their learning style. Over time this knowledge is made real and practical as the student achieves the goals set for them in their PBP.
In form, this meta cognitive problem solving strategy is a functional representation of the 9 basic neurological processes utilized by the brain to solve problems. These processes, in turn, forms the core steps of the problem solving process. By turning the problem solving process back upon itself students learn more than just how to approach a problem, they learn how their brain functions in relation to the process of problem solving. This enables them to approach their own thinking in a self aware and practical way, learning to identify and balance their individual learning strengths and weaknesses. By comprehending a neurologically based learning disability in this way, self defeating and mal-adaptive assumptions can be addressed, interpreted and ameliorated through self understanding.
As problems occur, or are discovered, they are placed on the student’s Personal Business Plan and run through the Wholistic Problem Solving model until a functional solution can be found. Over time their PBP becomes a record of their past difficulties and triumphs. At this point the document its self ,can be analyzed and reflected upon meta-cognitivly to develop what I call the students Personal Success Narrative. This is a short story, about the student themselves, that illustrates their success and how they achieved it. With this narrative students begin to learn how to use their understanding of their own history to guide them through problems and identify meta-historical problems and behavior patters that they may not have been aware of otherwise. The student can begin to see their history as a stream of cause-and-effect relationships rather than a series of unconnected episodes. By further inserting a problem-solving focus to this historical understanding of self, students can become aware of their own personal pitfalls and discover the strategies that will work best for them to avoid these pitfalls.