Frequently Asked Questions

How can we fit it in to our school programme?

Future Problem Solving is a challenging academic programme which requires a high level of abstract reasoning. This needs to be recognised when implementing the programme in a school. Ideally three hours a week would be an optimum time investment; in reality, most coaches seem to have an hour a week with their teams.

The amended NAGS require all schools to identify and cater for their gifted and talented students. Future Problem Solving, whilst not meeting the needs of all gifted and talented learners can become an integral part of the provisions for gifted and talented learners in a school.

Different models in schools have included:
* withdrawal group - run by a teacher or parent,
* extension group within a classroom
* part of a gifted and talented programme
* a component of one curriculum area
* after school classes
* part of the whole class programme
(Stepping Stones Division in particular)

Community Problem Solving requires a long term commitment in terms of time and sometimes needs to be flexible. Most schools have run this as an extension withdrawal group. We recommend that coaches have at least one year's experience with Future Problem Solving before tackling CmPS, although this is not essential.

Community Problem Solving may be able to be included as part of the school's technology programme. The coach would need to be au fait with the document to ensure that the requirements of the curriculum are covered. The goals of CmPS align closely to the definition of Technology in the curriculum.Scenario Writing fits nicely into the English Curriculum.It suits the needs of gifted writers who are interested in the future and who enjoy science fiction.

Who are the evaluators?

We have a nationwide team of evaluators. These people are mainly coaches, ex-students, retired teachers or outstanding senior students. The quality of evaluation is high and comprehensive feedback is given to teams. This is one of the strengths of this programme.All evaluators have received training at workshops or by mentoring.

Coaches are urged to train as evaluators. The best way to learn about how the programme works is to become an evaluator.

Several of our evaluation team have now evaluated at an international level.

If you would like to become an evaluator, please contact us.

Is FPS good for all students?

Many of the creative, ethical and critical thinking skills in this programme are important for all students. The high level of reading, reasoning and abstract thinking skills required however makes it more appropriate for very able students. The skills which coaches learn through this programme are transferable across the curriculum and can have a profound positive impact on teaching.

Some teachers working with Stepping Stones Division teach the programme as part of a whole class programme.

Community Problem Solving may be suitable for gifted and talented students with a range of different abilities and particularly suitable for students who are well organised and work well in a team.

How do we identify students for FPS?

Future Problem Solving is a programme which suits the needs of a group of gifted students, it is not the 'be all and end all' of gifted and talented education. It is an integral part of an enrichment programme.

If your school has a good definition of gifted and talented students and a school-wide identification procedure (see: Gifted and Talented Students, Meeting their Needs in New Zealand Schools, NZ Ministry of Education 2001) you will already have identified your pool of gifted and talented students. From this pool you can further filter out your FPS students. Some schools merely use PAT Stanines. The danger of this is that you may miss those exciting, creatively gifted students who do not necessarily score well on standardised tests yet are ideal FPSers. On the other hand you may end up with some students who prefer to work in a narrow 'right answers' approach and FPS does not necessarily meet their specific learning needs.

Community Problem Solving meets the needs of yet another group of gifted students. See further information on the CmPS page.

Look for students who enjoy:
* Challenges
* Taking risks
* Being curious
* Coping with ambiguity
* Thinking creatively
* Discussing 'meaty' topics
* Imagining the future
* Wondering about the world
* Working in teams
Students with these characteristics who find teamwork difficult may prefer to register as individuals.

DON'T FORGET THE 'WHY THEM' KIDS - THE CREATIVE, 'OFF THE WALL' SPARKLERS WHO MAY NOT WRITE ACCURATELY OR NEATLY.

Click here for a link to a PDF file which lists activities suitable for identifying potential FPS students.

How much does it cost to participate?

Booklet Competition:
$200.00 plus G.S.T. per team (4 students)
Individual Competition:
$ 65.00 plus G.S.T. per student
Stepping Stones Divisions:
$200.00 plus G.S.T. per team
Scenario Writing:
$ 50.00 plus G.S.T. per student for twos submissions (June & September) or $40 plus G.S.T. for one submission (September)
Community Problem Solving:
$200.00 plus G.S.T. per team Individual
CmPS:
$ 65.00 plus G.S.T. per student

Enrolments are accepted only on the appropriate online registration form.
Send no money, your school will be invoiced.
After Problem Two no further booklets will be evaluated until registration fees are paid in full.
There can be no return of 'Reading, Research and Resources' after 10th April.
There will be no refunds after a school has submitted booklets.

What training is available?

Coaches Training Workshops are run in various parts of the country during the first term each year, usually during the week but sometimes on a Saturday. Facilitators are experienced FPS coaches and evaluators all of whom have attended the International Finals. Workshops incorporate strategies for creative thinking which are transferable into everyday classroom teaching as well.

Future Problem Solving NZ