Brainstorming seems like it would be easy to teach. I’ve tried several different methods over the past years… but haven’t settled on a primary method. Tonight I think it would be useful to refine and spell out the specific brainstorming method that Innovative Arts students will encounter.
I have a document where students write down things about themselves. There are random pairs that ring the page that pair these things up. So if a student is interested in football and their favorite winter clothing is a mitten >>> football mittens. It’s not profound but it does a nice job if showing just how many possible ideas are out there.
The simplest way to brainstorm is by using random association with the prompt. It is powerful, easy, and fun. If we can couple this with a student’s specific interests, then we can start to have a flood of ideas.
But coming up with ideas isn’t the problem. Students believing that they can accomplish those ideas is the limiting factor. It seems that many students will wait until they come up with an idea that they are 100% sure that they can accomplish that they start working towards that goal.
The problem is that most of the ideas that students are 100% sure about are the ideas they have done in the past. So we sit, stuck, until the perfect idea (which isn’t that different than something they did in elementary school) appears.
So this time we are coming up with the ideas and procedures as a team. We will be visualizing the end result, listing the things that might impede our progress, encouraging and checking in with each other.
Obviously, all of this encompasses more than just the brainstorming step. But there is more to brainstorming than just coming up with ideas.