Brainstorming Strategy | Teaching Strategies and Devices

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Brainstorming Strategy | Teaching Strategies and Devices

Meaning of Brainstorming

Brainstorming, as name suggests, implies storming of the brain, i.e. to evolve or generate a number of ideas and the thought lines as quickly as possible without paying consideration about their validity and appropriateness. This strategy was popularized by A. F. Osborn (1963) through his writing ‘Applied Imagination. According to him, this strategy can be used with a group to explore a number of ideas related to a situation or solution of a problem without passing any judgement or censure. This strategy is specially useful for the development of higher cognitive abilities like reflective thinking, creative imagination and problem solving. It is also helpful in the attainment of the learning objectives related to affective domain.

Organization procedure of Brainstorming

Following points can be outlined in the procedure for using brainstorming as a teaching strategy:

  1. To start the procedure, a small group of students (10 to 15) is formed. They are asked to sit in a group and provided with a focus or a particular problem.
  2. Teacher, as a leader of the group, then asks group members to think about the solution of the problem and give their ideas one by one as rapidly as possible. They are advised to attach the faced problem without any inhibition from many angles; in fact, storming it with all possible ideas and solutions. For providing these ideas, they may be instructed as follows:
    • You are faced with this problem now; think about the possible solutions.
    • Come out with as many ideas or solutions as possible. Don’t care for the criticism. Provide your suggestions and ideas without any hesitation even if they seem to you quite noble, unusual and unorthodox.
    • Don’t criticize others’ ideas, but you are free to make alternation, enlargement and synthesis in the ideas or solutions given by others.
    • You are also free to alter or improve your own ideas and solutions given by you earlier in this session.
  1. In this way, students are encouraged and inspired for giving as many as ideas or solutions as possible. The group members and the leader are supposed to receive these responses in the light of the following precautionary measures or norms:
    • All ideas are to be encouraged and appreciated; therefore no criticism is allowed during the brainstorming session.
    • Ideas are to be listened and accepted patiently, without passing any judgement or comment of any sort until the session is over.
    • Members are not restricted to new ideas but also encouraged to enlarge upon ideas put forward by other fellow students.
    • All the ideas and alternations are to be recorded properly (preferably written on the blackboard or displayed on the screen).
  1. At the end of the brainstorming session, all the solutions and ideas received from the members are discussed in a free and frank democratic environment. Out of this discussion (wisely guided by the group leader) the most viable ideas are accepted for the solution of the problem in hand.

Advantages of Brainstorming Strategy

  1. It discourages spoon feeding and information given tendency or rule on the part of the teachers. Students become active and independent enquirer and discoverer of the knowledge instead of remaining passive partners in the teaching-learning process.
  2. It provides opportunity to think, reason, analyze and synthesize and thus it proves helpful in the development of higher cognitive abilities among the students.
  3. The main advantage of this strategy is to help students in the development of their creative and constructive potentialities. The originality and novelty of the ideas, the varied responses marked with divergent thinking, the removal of fear of being ridiculated or criticized, may always encourage and inspire the students for developing their creative imagination and problem solving ability.
  4. It encourages the group activities on the part of students for finding out the solution of a problem of common interest. It makes them cooperative and teaches them to have respect for others’ ideas and points of view.

Demerits and Limitations

  1. All the members of the group may not be interested equally in the solution of the problem.
  2. The group may not be homogeneous with respect to general mental level or knowledge and skills required for the solution of the problem.
  3. The group members may not come forward for putting up their ideas.
  4. The brainstorming session may not yield into convincing solutions. The members may clash with each other and indulge in verbal conflicts.
  5. The concluding session may not result into useful conclusion or solution of the problem.
  6. The members may waste their time and energy without getting opportunity for the realization of cognitive or affective objectives.

However, we must not get discouraged by the above cited limitations and drawbacks of the brainstorming strategy. These are very poor barriers and, if proper care is taken by the teacher in making use of the brainstorming as a strategy, he may be able to achieve the desired purposes and advantages served by this strategy.

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