MAEL 207
Communication and Problem Solving Competencies

ECTS Value: 5 ECTS

Contact Hours: 25

Self Study Hours: 60

Assessment Hours: 40


Overall Objectives and Outcomes

This module is aimed at developing two fundamental competencies necessary for educational leaders; namely, communication and problem-solving. Participants will acquire operative tools both in effective communication and problem-solving, which are essential in leading change in the school context. Learners will learn to create an action plan adopting an action-research approach. 

By the end of this programme, participants should be able to:


a. Manage and promote change within their role as Educational leaders; 
b. Develop and apply problem-solving and action-planning competencies in their leadership of an educational institution; 
c. Set SMART objectives; 
d. Develop a critical understanding of a problem-oriented inquiry approach and the studies of the School of Palo Alto (California) to enhance problem probing and solving; 
e. Engage with literature on the solution-oriented inquiry approach and the studies of the School of Milwaukee to enhance problem-solving and envisioning; 
f. Create rigorous yet self-corrective step-by-step action plans using the Mountain climbing technique; 
g. Develop operative tools and strategies to render communication always more effective and persuasive;
h. Establish collaborative relationships within one’s educational institution.  



a. Constructivist-strategic approach to problem-solving and communication; 
b. The pragmatics of human communication with a particular focus on the school of Palo Alto; 
c. Dialogue and communication strategies such as active listening, turning affirmations into questions, paraphrasing, use of analogical language, reframing and others. 
d. An action-research approach to practice.  



a. Acquire operative knowledge in problem solving to establish innovative strategies within complex situations 
b. Apply operative theoretical knowledge on the pragmatics of human communication to understand the effects of verbal and non-verbal communication 
c. Demonstrate communication strategies which can improve one’s communication. 
d. Acquire operative knowledge on how to manage resistances and oppositions to change within one’s role as an educational leader e. adopt an action research approach to everyday practice within one’s educational institution. 


Assessment Methods

This programme adopts continuous and summative methods of assessment including assignments, online tasks, reflective journals, projects and video presentations. For further details, kindly refer to the Teaching, Learning and Assessment Policy and Procedures.

Suggested Readings

Core Reading List
1. Papantuono, M., Portelli, C. Gibson, P. (2014) Winning without fighting. A Teacher’s handbook of effective solutions for Social, Emotional, Behavioural difficulties in Students. Malta University Publishing, Malta 
2. Watzlawick P., Beavin J.H., Jackson D., (1967), Pragmatics of Human Communication: A study of Interactional Patterns, Pathologies and Paradoxes, NY: Norton & Co. 
3. Nardone, G. Salvini A., (2007) The Strategic Dialogue: Rendering the diagnostic interview a real therapeutic intervention. Karnac, London. 
4. Cialdini, R. B., (2007) Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion. Revised edition. Collins Business Essentials, New York. 


Supplementary Reading List
1. Calhoun E. F., (1994), How to use action research in self-renewing school, Alexandria, VA: ASCD. 
2. Milanese R., Mordazzi, P., (2015) Strategic Coaching: Transforming Limits into Resources. E-kindle edition Ponte alle Grazie 
3. Goldstein, N.J., Martin, S. J.., Cialdini, B. (2007) Yes! 50 secrets from the science of persuasion. Profile books, London 
4. Loriedo C., Zeig J., Nardone, G. (2011) TranceForming: Ericksonian Methods The Milton H. Erickson Foundation Press Phoenix, Arizona 
5. Nardone, G, Portelli, C., (2005) Knowing through Changing: The Evolution of Brief Strategic Therapy. Crown Publishing house, UK. 
6. Watzlawick, P. (1978) The Language of Change W.W. Norton & Company, New York 
7. Watzlawick, P., Bavelas, J.B., Jackson, D.D., (1967) Pragmatics of Human Communication: A study of interactional Patterns, Pathologies and Paradoxes. W.W. Norton & Company, New York  


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