– Me, us and the world –

The “Real-Life Problem Solving” methodology in VT
by David Muñoz Ugartemendia and Juan Carlos Lizarbe de Luis | CIFP Don Bosco LHII


With real-life problem-solving methodology, teachers and students collaborate with different players in their environment, becoming active people to solve real-life problems.


We needed something else. We knew that if we could increase the motivation our students felt in carrying out projects in our classrooms even more, we would be able to create a psychological state where students would be able to give the best of themselves. We needed something besides PBL, something to mix it up. Almost without meaning to, we were in a new transition: there were certain associations and companies who were interested in collaborating with us. They saw the technological aspect of our internal projects, fruit of a PBL, and they didn’t hesitate to trust in us, in the teachers and in VT students. As of that moment, our 2nd-year Ethazi students began practising “real-life problem solving,” collaborating with cancer and Parkinson’s associations, biologists, other associations, centres for the elderly and to help the blind, charitable Internet communities, etc., to observe the problems through technology and to develop a solution.


RLPS means that the teacher’s role needs to change, since the way they accompany students goes beyond the centre’s walls: they must spend time listening to outside agents, seeking out opportunities outside the school, and move around! The commitment entered into with all of them increases a teacher’s responsibility even more, giving way to a new, added role, that we call “Bridge Teacher.”


We are experiencing a change in context, toward high-performance training (Ethazi) where active, collaborative methodologies are being raised to meet the demands of companies and of society itself. RLPS is augmented PBL, but with the difference that neither teachers nor students know what the beginning and the end of the challenge that arises from these very same agents will be.


The RLPS is augmented PBL, so it can be transferred to any centre. The agents around the centres have more trust in the centre, the centre’s image improves, since the impact of the projects sparks the media’s interest, intra-entrepreneurship grows by seeking out collaboration within the centre, and the students and teachers’ entrepreneurial initiative also grows.


RLPS is a stage for learning that activates key transversal and social skills. It increases the students’ initiative and makes then autonomous, so they do not hesitate to get involved with the social problem or challenge. They squeeze the most out of their creativity to innovate and find the best solution. Their employability is improved by adding this activity, which companies like to see on their CV.