The art of brainstorming

“If you have an apple and I have an apple and we exchange these apples, then you and I will still each have one apple. But if you have an idea and I have an idea and we exchange these ideas, then each of us will have two ideas” – George Bernard Shaw

Brainstorming is a great teaching method that can encourage the entire class to participate. It can help students work together to expand their knowledge about a particular topic, or to come up with many different ideas.

What is brainstorming?
Brainstorming is a large or small group activity that encourages students to focus on a topic and contribute to the free flow of ideas.

Why use brainstorming?
By expressing ideas and listening to what others say, students adjust their previous knowledge or understanding, accommodate new information and increase their levels of awareness.

The main purpose of brainstorming is to:

  • Focus students’ attention on a particular topic
  • Generate a wide variety of ideas
  • Encourage students to take risks in sharing their ideas and opinions
  • Provide an opportunity for students to share ideas and expand their existing knowledge by building on each other’s contributions.

Sequential process of brainstorming

Set Up

  • In a small or large group, select a leader and a scribe (or this may be the teacher).
  • Define the problem or idea to be brainstormed. Make sure everyone is clear on the topic being explored.


  • The teacher may begin a brainstorming session by posing a question or a problem, or by introducing a topic.
  • Students then express possible answers, relevant words and ideas.
  • Contributions are accepted without criticism or judgment and usually summarized on a whiteboard by the teacher or a scribe as the ideas are called out.
  • These ideas are then examined, usually in an open class discussion format.

The article has been contributed by Butterfly Fields, a company working in the domain of innovative teaching-learning techniques. To know more about the work the company does, visit or call 040 2771 1020.

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