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4 Brainstorming Ideas For Encouraging Speaking In EFL Classes

Brainstorming is a very useful activity that can be easily introduced into EFL classes. It is a fun activity that students enjoy. In addition, It helps develop students’ thinking and speaking skills. It is worth trying out in your own EFL classes.

The following are four brainstorming activities you can try out to encourage speaking in your EFL classes.

1. Brainstorming Using a Picture

Pictures are an effective tool for brainstorming. Interesting and attractive pictures can evoke the biggest variety of responses. Most students will let their imagination roam if the pictures are strange enough. You can use pictures from textbooks, magazines, TV shows, social media or other sources.

When demonstrating a picture, ask students:

  • What are the people doing?
  • What objects are there in the picture?
  • Can you guess what the man/woman is thinking about?
  • How can you describe this person?

2. Brainstorming Using a Song

Songs are wonderful for reducing nervousness and creating fun in the classroom. They seem to be particularly effective in whole-class brainstorming when the teacher is writing the ideas on the board.

Play a song for the class and ask questions like the following.

  • How does the singer feel?
  • What do you think the singer looks like?
  • What is the suitable title for this song?
  • When do you think this song was written? Why?
  • Can you tell some words/verses from the song?

3. Brainstorming on Word or Phrase-mapping Around a Certain Topic

Write a word or phrase in the centre of the board. Ask students for all the other words or phrases that link to this central word/phrase in a logical manner.

Word-mapping can be useful for establishing groups of similar things, for example “Animals or “Food”.

Phrase-mapping can be useful for developing sentences or functions, for example “A visit to the zoo”.

4. Brainstorming Based on Prediction

This can be used in conjunction with dialogues in textbooks asking students to guess what the speaker will say next.

It is a powerful technique to encourage students to take a risk. If the dialogue is recorded, stop the tape and ask for a prediction of what the speaker will say next.

Final Word

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When brainstorming for encouraging speaking in the classroom, you should encourage students to say as many different answers to the questions as come to their minds.

You should think of a brainstorming session in terms of what happens during a real storm. Think of the students’ ideas as rain. Good storms have lots of rain, and a good brainstorming session should generate lots of ideas.

The main principle of brainstorming is that you need lots of ideas to get good ideas.

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