|Brainstorming is a method that supports creative thinking and problem solving by gathering a list of ideas spontaneously contributed by a group of people. Those involved meet and agree to use their imagination, knowledge and experience to generate new ideas and solutions for problems.
The two most important principles of brainstorming are:
|Aim||To solve problems in a group setting|
|This method can be applied in a wide variety of disciplines including social sciences, teacher training, business training, health service courses, etc.|
|Intended learning outcomes|
|As the facilitator, you should first explain the basic rules of brainstorming and introduce the usual two phases that make up a brainstorming session, namely the first, creative phase and then the second critical phase.
In the first phase, students are presented with the topic/problem to be solved. They should come up all the solutions they can think of which are written down on a board, a big sheet of paper or on post-its.
In the second critical phase, they carry out a critical appraisal of the ideas generated. This can be done in different ways, e.g. they can:
The way of working with the ideas gathered depends on the structure of the problem and the aim of the lesson.
During this exercise, you as facilitator should provide the task or problem, help to stimulate students input, take care of time-keeping and make sure the rules are respected
|Preparation||The teaching staff member needs to prepare the task/problem that will be the subject of the brainstorm.|
|Required resources and equipment||Blackboard, white board, pen and paper or post-its|
|Success factors||The success or otherwise of this method depends largely on good time and space coordination and a willingness on the part of everyone involved to stick to the rules.|
|Advantages||The brainstorming method enhances students’ ability to think creatively, improves their critical thinking and decision making, leads to better problem solving skills and ability to communicate and participate in group-work|
|Disadvantages||Students can be blocked in the first round by the most active ones. The facilitator has to ensure there are effective ground rules in place to ensure everyone is involved.|
|Additional information||You can use digital tools to support the brainstorming method. AnswerGarden is a good example, it is an easy to use, free tool that enables people to give feedback as well as gathering and prioritizing ideas. It can be used in the classroom with students’ smartphones.|
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