As our world becomes increasingly complex, so too do the problems that the next generation will need to solve. To prepare their students for this inevitability, educators have begun to shift their teaching from a passive style to an active one. Under this pedagogy, students are granted a newfound responsibility over their learning. Because of this, the types of assignments that children often bring home are open-ended. Instead of the teacher telling students what to do for a project or creative writing assignment, students must discover a course of action for themselves.
For many children, not having a concrete set of instructions can sometimes be intimidating. One of the most effective ways to overcome this kind of anxiety is to guide your child through a brainstorming session. This effective method of idea generation not only helps children focus on the task at hand, but it also gives them the confidence to share ideas without fear of rejection or criticism.
Read below to learn how you can lead a productive at-home brainstorming session today!
Even before the brainstorming begins, it can be helpful to get your student in the right problem-solving mindset. You can do this by asking a series of open-ended questions.
Here are a few suggestions:
- What are you trying to accomplish with your project?
- How will your project achieve its intended purpose?
- What makes a project fun and interesting?
- What are some of the best ideas you’ve come up with?
- What have you always wanted to try?
- When you think of the word “innovative,” what comes to mind?
- When you think of the word “creative,” what do you think of?
- Can you tell me about a time when you were really proud of something you did at school?
- If you could invent something, what would it be?
First Thought Best Thought
The central reason brainstorming is so effective is that it encourages the creation of many ideas over a short period of time. To get started, first set a timer for five or 10 minutes. Next, get out a sheet of paper and a writing instrument of choice. Finally, have your child come up with as many different ideas for their project or assignment as they can, and transcribe what they come up with. During the brainstorming session, it’s important to reassure everyone participating in the brainstorming session that there are no “bad” or “wrong” ideas. Instead, they should focus on generating as many ideas as they can. Even the most seemingly wacky or unrelated of these should be dutifully recorded. By transforming brainstorming into a game where the goal is to produce as many ideas as possible, children will begin to overcome the fear of self-expression and realize their creative potential.