Other more general problems with brainstorming will then be dealt with in the final section. The main solutions to this are also more general — lots of monitoring and feedback from the teacher during the groupwork stage and a final feedback stage, e.
General Brainstorming in this article means giving students an open-ended chance to produce as many of something e. More theoretical issues with brainstorming As I was going to do with the previous article I mentioned in the introduction, it is also possible to raise more general issues with the whole idea of brainstorming in EFL classes.
Making brainstorming more useful and fun By: Another reason for messiness is that categories often only come up after the individual words or subcategories are already on the board, making use of the eraser and subsequent rewriting or squeezing in of words necessary.
If that happens more than once or twice in whole class brainstorming, especially from the same student, I tend to accept further contributions of this type but not write them up, only bothering with explanations of words that make it to the board.
For example, the teacher often ends up explaining new vocabulary that one student has introduced, correcting students, adapting what students have said to make it more useful e. Room A much smaller thing that can also have a big impact is running out of space on the board or piece of paper during the brainstorming.
This article will look at specific problems with this popular way of brainstorming before looking at whole class brainstorming more generally. The basic form of brainstorming as taught on most TEFL courses is the teacher standing in front of the board and taking students suggestions for things to write in a list, table or mind map - a kind of spider with a word, phrase or sentence in the centre and the brainstormed words coming out from it, perhaps after categories or sub-categories.
Problems with whole class brainstorming Taking part As with most kinds of whole class speaking, the biggest problem with brainstorming together is that some students will contribute too much and others not enough.
In whole class brainstorming the similar but better option is for the teacher to quickly write in some obvious examples when a category is suggested, then turn back to the students for more examples.
Too many words A problem which is related to the one above is getting so much useful language that it becomes impossible for students to learn it all. One solution is underlining or circling words that students should learn. Alternatively, the teacher could try to elicit the categories as students suggest individual words that would fit in with them.
This can be partially solved by the teacher brainstorming the exact same thing themselves before the lesson, sticking to words they think the students might know so that they get a realistic idea of what the finished mind map might look like.
This could include the students who know the most useful vocabulary remaining silent. More general problems with level are dealt with below.
Just like elicitation generally, brainstorming is very popular in the modern EFL classroom for reasons that are often unconsidered but probably include giving limited control to the students. Some students who are reluctant to contribute on their own might also be more willing if they are working as a team who get points for relevant contributions, perhaps with really shy students whispering their ideas for their partner to shout out.
It could perhaps be considered as a less controlled form of elicitation. High level language As well as the specific problem with categories mentioned in the context of mind maps, there is also the chance that the language that students shout out is too high level for it to be worth explaining to the rest of the class.
Brainstorming is new to the students A very specific example of students not being familiar with brainstorming is that many Business English textbooks include activities on brainstorming during business meetings, something some students will literally never experience.
One solution is to select the particular bits you want them to copy, e. The other potential issues with brainstorming are more general to the process in general and so are dealt with below.
Group brainstorming In theory, anything the class can do with the teacher in front of the board can be done with a piece of A3 paper, a pencil and an eraser in each group.
The other two solutions are deciding a section, e. These solutions also partially work with the third and fourth reasons for messiness, which is the teacher or students wanting to move words around and show links to more than one category.
The teacher could start with all the categories already on the board, but this takes away some of the control and initiative that makes brainstorming an attractive activity for the students.
As with whole class brainstorming more generally, the easiest solution is to do the same thing in pairs or groups. Solutions include letting students brainstorm in groups first and going round student by student to ask for contributions.
The latter tends not to be too pressurising if you let them contribute anything at all rather than insisting on contributions to one category, and you could perhaps allow limited dictionary use if they get stuck for ideas. With an interactive whiteboard you may be able to copy and paste the brainstorm into another page, shrinking its image to leave extra space around the edge.
Other problems with group brainstorming will also be familiar from common student complaints about pairwork and groupwork more generally, such as wanting to learn from the teacher rather than their partner s. It also makes them more active, which might make them responsible for their own learning and likely to learn better.
In fact, I have since extended far beyond vocabulary to get students brainstorming useful phrases, sentence stems, exam tactics, cultural differences, communication strategies, and grammar e. The temptation to even up the number of individual words in each category can also lead to the same kinds of problems with words that are too high level, and if it is considered necessary for example to make the meaning of the category clearthe same kinds of solutions could be used.
One reason for this is that it is difficult to predict where most words will come, meaning one half of the board might be packed with words while the other half is empty. Another is simply to use lists or columns instead of mind maps.
Can we put them together?
Written by Alex Case for UsingEglish. As with groupwork generally, students will need a bit more help getting started than in whole-class work, for example by giving them at least categories in the mind map before they start, by starting the brainstorming as a class and then letting them continue in groups, by giving them fixed stages to follow e.Essay Writing Lesson Plans There are a number of lesson plans and resources on this site that help out with the many steps involved in developing the necessary writing skills.
To focus on combining simple sentences into more compound structures, use this simple to compound sentence worksheet. The Effect of Brainstorming as a Pre-writing Strategy on Learners’ Writing Ability 90 effect on the writing skill of EFL students in such aspects as content and organization, mechanics of writing, language use and skills emerged from creative thinking abilities (fluency, flexibility, originality and elaboration).
The current study aimed at investigating the effect of using the brainstorming technique on developing first secondary grade students' essay writing skills in EFL.
The study attempted to answer the following questions: 1-What are the essay writing skills needed for first secondary grade students in.
Thus, the current study comes as an attempt to investigate the effectiveness of using the brainstorming technique in developing first secondary grade students' essay writing skills in EFL.
1. Essay writing: The essay is defined as a short literary composition on a subject expressing a personal view. Brainstorming and Essay Writing in EFL Class April The current study aimed at investigating the effect of using the brainstorming technique on developing first.
Brainstorming exercises are great icebreakers. They are a great way to start a class and they are also a great way to engage students. Students can freely associate ideas to a topic.Download