Future Problem Solving Program coaches' efficacy in teaching for successful intelligence and their patterns of successful behavior

Date of Completion

January 2003


Education, Educational Psychology|Psychology, Cognitive




The Future Problem Solving Program (FPSP) is an academic program designed to explore challenges and propose action plans to complex societal issues. This mixed-methods study, based on Sternberg's theory of Successful Intelligence, examined FPSP coaches' efficacy in teaching for successful intelligence, factors related to their teaching efficacy, and how a person's pattern of successful behavior relates to his or her perception of different types of problem solving. ^ To examine FPSP coaches' level of efficacy in teaching problem solving strategies to their students, a new instrument entitled Teaching for Successful Intelligence (TSI) was administered to FPSP coaches from 43 programs in the USA, Australia, and New Zealand (N = 484). The survey consisted of two sections with Likert-type items. Principal component analyses for each section resulted in three reliable components for section one (i.e., analytical, creative, and practical intelligences) and two reliable components for section two (i.e., going beyond and teaching flexibility). ^ Respondents were categorized in four groups depending on their level of expertise and involvement in one or more problem solving types. Overall multivariate effects for level of expertise and involvement in problem-solving type and both main effects were significant, using multivariate analysis of covariance. To further investigate the relationship between a set of teaching efficacy variables and a set of teaching and coaching variables, two canonical correlations were conducted. Patterns for coaches who were involved in one problem solving type only and those involved in more than one type were compared. ^ To identify FPSP coaches' individual patterns of successful behavior and their perceptions of two problem solving types, in-depth interviews were conducted with 12 winning FPSP coaches. The researcher's goal was to gain a “holistic” understanding of the systemic nature of individual FPSP coach's successful behaviors. To describe a person's pattern of successful behavior the researcher identified: (a) the person's cognitive strengths, (b) his or her satisfying outcomes, and (c) recurring situational factors mentioned across the accomplishments reported. The differing patterns of three prototypical cases—an analytical, a creative, and a practical coach—and their perceptions of two types of creative problem solving were described in detail. ^