How can I Facilitate Brainstorming in the Classroom?

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Check Out the New Blog Brainstorming in the classroom encourages students to emerge with ideas.A brainstorming session is a useful tool to generate ideas or find solutions to a problem. These sessions explore and expand a student’s ability to think critically and laterally. As students get actively involved, the sessions aid the process of learning and improve academic performance.

What are the benefits of brainstorming sessions?

Brainstorming in the classroom motivate students to freely express their ideas and thoughts on a subject. As there are no wrong and right answers, the sessions provide students with a platform where they can voice their thoughts without fear of failure.

The sessions give the class a chance to tap into their previous knowledge and form connections between the current topic and what they have already learned. It also encourages them to listen and consider others’ ideas, thereby showing respect for their fellow classmates.

How to get started?

Brainstorming sessions may seem like an unstructured activity, however, laying down some rules may ensure smooth functioning of the session. Here are some ideas that may aid the brainstorming sessions:

Discussing and not fighting: There is no winning or losing team while brainstorming. All the ideas and thoughts are considered and given equal preference. The teacher should moderate the session so that the discussion is amiable and students are learning. Also ensure that everyone contributes to the session.

Generate answers: Frame the question that needs to be brainstormed carefully so that maximum ideas may be generated. Teachers should prepare a list of sub-questions that may help direct the thoughts of the students in the right direction in case the discussion hangs or the students get side tracked. Instruct the students to record their ideas so that it won’t be missed and there is no repetition.

Set a time limit: Set a time limit on the discussion. The time set would depend on the nature of the topic. At the end of the session, a student can summarize all the ideas that were discussed.

Teacher facilitates: The teacher should coordinate and manage the session without adding their evaluation or comments on the ideas presented.

Tips on facilitating brainstorming

Here are some methods by which the teacher may smoothly facilitate brainstorming sessions in the classroom:

Simple brainstorming

Write down the discussion question on the blackboard or a flip chart and encourage students to add their inputs. After the time is over, the students can voice the ideas written on the board or chart.

Brainstorming in groups

The class may be divided into groups. They may all be given the same topic, a paper to record their ideas and instructions on the time limit. Once the time is over, each group will choose a student who may read out their ideas. The students may also be given a second paper to note the ideas that they have missed out. In this way, students are able to generate and understand all the ideas presented in the session.

Paired brainstorming

In this strategy, the students are divided into pairs and each pair discusses their ideas and notes them down.

Pie method

A circle is drawn and the topic written in the center. The teacher divides the circle into 4 or 6 parts, representing sub-topics. Students are instructed to generate ideas for each sub-topic and these are written down. At the end of the session, the diagram represents all the ideas that make up the total topic.

Card method

In this method, students are asked to list their ideas on a stacked card and pass it to their right. The student on the right reads the idea that was written and adds to it. In this way, the card is passed around the class with each individual contributing to an idea. In case someone has no contribution, they may write a question which could be discussed by the other students. Once all the cards have been passed around, the teacher may collect them and read back the ideas to the class.

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Discuss here: What are some ways you have facilitated brainstorming in the classroom?

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