Teaching methods for inventive problem-solving in junior high school

Moshe Barak, Pnina Mesika

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Fostering pupils' competencies in inventive thinking and problem-solving has remained a rather unresolved issue in traditional schooling, mainly because many people regard creative thinking as a God-given ability, something an individual either possesses or does not possess, but can only be slightly learned or improved. The current study is aimed at evaluating the impact of teaching pupils problem-solving principles based on the 'idea focusing' concept, rather than the 'idea generating' approach through random search or brainstorming. Data included pre- and post-course quizzes, interviews and observations of class activities. The finding indicated that the participants significantly improved their achievements in suggesting original solutions to problems in comparison to a control group, and successfully utilized the method they had learned in their final project. Some pupils reported that they used the thinking patterns they had procured during the course in other contexts as well, for example, in school or at home. These results suggest that there is benefit in teaching pupils methods for focused thinking in problem-solving; these methods, however, should be regarded as a kind of heuristics that can help guide the thinking process rather than being used as strict algorithms. The important point is to provide pupils with opportunities to develop their own thinking methods and explain their ideas.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)19-29
Number of pages11
JournalThinking Skills and Creativity
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2007


  • Heuristics
  • Inventive thinking
  • Problem-solving

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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