There have been visible changes in the classroom environment with an ever-evolving teaching strategy, aided by technology. Teaching, which was generally considered a one-way process of imparting knowledge is now drifting towards online teaching with engaging and interactive modules. Brainstorming, in particular, is one such practice that’s been prioritized, of late.
Brainstorming can be summed up as an excellent teaching strategy to generate ideas on various topics. While encouraging students to brainstorm, teachers attempt to stretch their thinking skills further. It broadens their analytical skills and promotes diverse ideas in the classroom.
But how do you introduce brainstorming in the classroom? Let’s find out.
Emphasize the Importance of Brainstorming
While you may understand the importance of brainstorming, your students might not. Hence it is imperative that they understand the efficacy of this exercise. Explain the ways how brainstorming will help them in freely expressing their ideas and thoughts on the topic of discussion. Let them know that they don’t necessarily need to provide the right answers. Instead, brainstorming acts as an avenue to voice their thoughts without the fear of being judged.
Pick the Right Brainstorming Method
There are different ways of approaching brainstorming.
Simple Brainstorming: As the name connotes, here you simply have to throw open the discussion by putting forward a question. It’s down to you to follow up on their responses with sub-questions to keep the discussion progressing.
Card Method: In this method, every student is handed a card and asked to record their responses on it. Once done, they are asked to move their cards to the student on their right (or left) and read the ideas on the card they receive. Next, they add their suggestions on the card and return it to the student it originally belongs to.
Group Brainstorming: Dividing the class into multiple groups is another way of conducting brainstorming sessions. You can allot every group a different topic to discuss upon and then ask them to come up with suggestions on the same. This will help them become receptive to others’ ideas and inculcate the habit of coordinating amongst themselves.
Choose the right pick based on the learning level of your students.
Set the Agenda
The brainstorming activity could turn out futile if it’s not backed by an agenda. Before any such session, set up a question or topic for discussion. Having a set question will provide much-needed direction to the activity. Besides, teachers should also prepare follow-up questions which will again help in directing the student’s thought process in a particular direction.
Students need to realize that all ideas and thoughts emerging in brainstorming sessions are considered and given equal importance. The teacher should moderate the session to ensure that meaningful discussions take place. However, students should be given the freedom to speak up. It’s also important to ensure that every student puts forward their point of view without any hesitation.
Fix a Time Limit
Brainstorming discussions can go on and on if there’s no set time limit. Hence, it’s necessary to keep it short. Though complex topics may need more time, encourage them to think within a time frame. Let each student come up with at least one idea before time runs out. Once done, take them through their responses individually. Explain your perspective on their responses. This will provide them with constructive feedback and mold their thought process in a definite way.
Your experience with every class will be different. Many times, you will have to adapt and change your strategies according to the learning level of your students. It’s thus important to understand your audience and then strategize for your sessions accordingly. Indeed, such activities will go a long way in instilling skills like confidence, analytical thinking and coordination among your students.