How Can Plus Minus Interesting Strategy be Used in The Classroom?

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High School Students Writing On Paper At DeskPlus minus interesting (PMI) strategy is a creative lateral thinking tool developed by Edward de Bono. The PMI tool can be used to critically examine texts, analyze the implications or consequences of actions and to stimulate the sharing of thoughts and ideas. Using the PMI tool, students are encouraged to broaden their thinking, consider the topic from different perspectives and take decisions weighing the pros and cons of the action. When used as a cooperative tool, it stimulates brainstorming of ideas and consensus seeking.

Practicing the strategy:

Students are given a sheet in which to record their ideas. The PMI tool is a paper that has three columns drawn on it, titled “plus, minus and interesting” respectively. Students are instructed to write down the positives, negatives and interesting features or outcomes of the text or action, in the respective columns. They can be given a time frame to brainstorm and write down their ideas, after which a presenter can be chosen from each group, to explain their findings.

We can also use the following methods to implement it in the classroom:

  • Whole Class Approach: When used as a whole class activity, the format can be drawn on the board and students are encouraged to voice out their ideas that are in turn written in their respective columns. It can also be used along with the carousel technique to generate maximum ideas.
  • Scoring: When deciding on whether or not to take a particular course of action, we can use a scoring system along with the PMI tool. Each idea in the plus, minus and interesting category is given a scoring from (-3 to +3). After scoring each idea, we can tally up the figures to decide if an action should be taken or not.
  • Sorting: A variation of the tool is the “Keep it, junk it, and put in the cloud method.” In this, the important information is placed under the “keep it” category, the not so important information in the “junk it” category and those that are to be put aside for further introspection in the “cloud” category.
  • Review: Students can also use a PMI tool to review the books read during the year.
  • Feedback and Evaluation: PMI tool can be used as a closure activity for students to write down the takeaway or key points of the lesson. It can also be used as a feedback tool and to evaluate our teaching performance.

Discuss here: What are some ways you help your students understand different perspectives?

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