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From fear to "Aha!": Math PD for transformative student learning — Learn more

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Problems-First Learning

Fully engage students by first introducing a problem and then empowering learners to solve it using creativity, innovation, collaboration, and other essential skills. Gain instructional methods that foster whole-mind learning, boost student engagement, and prepare learners for the modern workforce with 21st century skills.


  • Identify the need for instructional change in the current educational system.
  • Consider the transferrable skills students need for solving problems in the workplace and in life outside the classroom.
  • Study the benefits of a problems-first teaching style.
  • Learn to implement problems-first methods into existing classrooms.
  • Understand how this method teaches seven essential 21st century skills highly desired in the modern workforce.
  • Discover how to introduce role-play into the classroom and broaden lessons to encompass whole-mind learning and boost student engagement.

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The New Pillars of Modern Teaching

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Part One: Understanding New Needs and a New Approach for a Digital Generation
Chapter 1: The New Needs of a Changing Generation
Chapter 2: The Thinking and Processing Skills Students Need for the Future
Chapter 3: The Key to a New Approach
Part Two: Learning How to Create Problems-First Projects
Chapter 4: Envision a New Role for the Teacher
Chapter 5: Ensure That Problems Are First and Teaching Is Second
Chapter 6: Establish a Real-World Link Using Role-Play
Chapter 7: Equip Students With the Four Ds of Problem Solving
Chapter 8: Expand Your View of the Curriculum
Chapter 9: Elevate the Students’ Level of Thought
Chapter 10: Educate the Whole Mind
Chapter 11: Evaluate Holistically
Chapter 12: Ease Yourself Out of the Picture
Part Three: Making the Shift to Problems-First Teaching
Chapter 13: Pointers for Shifting to a Problems-First Approach
Chapter 14: Examples of Problems-First Lesson Plans





  • McNeece, A. (2020). Loving what they learn. Bloomington, IN: Solution Tree Press.
  • Reeves, D., & Reeves, B. (2017). The myth of the muse: Supporting virtues that inspire creativity. Bloomington, IN: Solution Tree Press.