Is it possible to practise an activity which will facilitate free flow of ideas, encourage patient hearing and active listening of each and everyone in a group? Brainstorming, the brainchild of Alex Osborne, a Latin American journalist, is one such technique which answers the question.

It is naively believed that brainstorming means a discussion of pros and cons. But it has a systematic procedure with an objective of promoting problem identification and problem solving. The following are the steps for this skill-developing activity. The students or close friends have to organise a group consisting of ten or twelve who have to identify a problem of common interest.

Participants have to assemble in a classroom and choose a group leader who will be a facilitator. He has to cull out the topic of general interest from the group members and fix a time limit of 20 or 30 minutes and faithfully jot down all the ideas on the board neither modifying the ideas nor allowing anybody to comment on the ideas.

In the second phase, the facilitator, in consultation with the group has to delete the redundant and the irrelevant ideas. At each point of deletion, the contributor of the ideas under discussion has to be consulted. Any objection from the participant has to be considered and the moderator cannot to take a unilateral decision.

In the third phase, the facilitator has to discuss with the group and fix the responsibility for solving the problems. The activity mainly helps the group develop conceptual understanding of the problem, organised pattern of grouping ideas and contextual perception of solving problems for trouble-shooting. Besides, it promotes soft skills such as active listening, critical reading of the ideas, speaking for or against during the stage of elimination, analytical skills and acts a viable medium for free wheeling of ideas.


Professor of English,
Tamil Nadu Agricultural University.