Home » Develop Students' Speaking Skills » Seven Types Of Brainstorming Worth Trying Out In Your Classes

Seven Types Of Brainstorming Worth Trying Out In Your Classes

Brainstorming is an activity whose purpose is to generate as many ideas as possible within a specified period of time.

Even if some of these ideas are not usable, they are not evaluated until the end of the activity because they’re viewed as a starting point for more workable ideas.

The main principle of brainstorming is: Lots of ideas lead to good ones.

Why Brainstorming Is Useful For Learners

Brainstorming is a useful tool in our classes because it:

  • Provides a link between new and existing knowledge.
  • Encourages learners to organize their knowledge.
  • Activates learners to produce a wide range of passive vocabulary.
  • Supports learners to create a series of connecting ideas.
  • Allows learners to select the language to use in the subsequent speaking tasks.
  • Helps learners to take the risk of making intelligent guesses to solve problems.
  • Reduces learners’ anxiety and helps them feel more confident and obtain a sense of competence.
  • Supports comprehension and develops productive skills.

Seven Types Of Brainstorming

There are many types of brainstorming. Below are some of them that can be explained easily and used with simple examples in the classroom.

1. Word lists

There are two kinds of word lists:

a) Lists based on a topic such as:

  • List words to describe people’s appearance.
  • List all the items you need for a camp.
  • Make a list of the house furniture.

b) Lists based on a principle such as:

  • Write down all foods that begin with each letter of the alphabet.
  • List all the animals you know starting from the smallest ones.

2. Alternatives

Find alternatives for a blank in a sentence such as:

  • The man got off his …………. and walked away.
  • Peter lived in a …………
  • I don’t like her because she is …………..

3. Using a picture

Pictures can be rich sources of inspiration for brainstorming. They can evoke a big variety of responses. In addition, pictures can develop learners’ critical thinking and imagination such as:

  • What are the people in the picture doing?
  • What objects can you see in the picture?
  • What is the man thinking about?
  • Write four words to describe the woman.

4. Using a song

Songs are wonderful for reducing nervousness. Play a song for the class and ask questions such as the following:

  • How does the singer feel?
  • What do you think the singer looks like?
  • Suggest titles for the song.
  • When do you think this song was written?

5. Using word/phrase mapping around a central theme

Write a word or a phrase in the centre of the board and encourage learners to write all words and phrases that link to it.

Word/phrase mapping can be useful for writing about similar things such as animals, foods, hobbies … etc.

6. Expressing a language function in different ways

This type of brainstorming encourages learners to use different ways of expressing a particular language function such as:

Ask someone to move his car

Answers could be:

  • Please, move your car.
  • Appreciate it if you could move your car.
  • Your car is out of my way.

7. Prediction

Prediction can be used with dialogues and stories in textbooks.

For example:

  • Guess what will the speaker say next?
  • Guess what will happen next?
  • Predict how will the story end.

It is a powerful technique to encourage learners to talk freely and express themselves without anxiety.


Types of brainstorming are very useful activities that can be introduced easily in the classroom to make learning enjoyable and create better learners so they are worth trying out in your classes.

Thanks For Reading

You can join my email list to be notified of the latest updates on elttguide.com and get TWO of my productsQuick-Start Guide To Teaching Listening In The Classroom & Quick-Start Guide To Teaching Grammar In The Classroom For FREE!

Join My Email List Now (It’s FREE)!

Want to Continue Your ELT Professional Development?

I offer various ELT publications on teaching English as a foreign language. 

In these publications, I put the gist of my experience in TEFL for +20 years with various learners and in various environments and cultures.

The techniques and tips in these publications are sure-fire teaching methods that worked for me well and they can work for you, as well, FOR SURE.

Go ahead and look at these publications to know more about each one of them and the problem & challenge each one focuses on to overcome.

Then, you can get what you have an interest in. It is very easy and cheap. You can afford it and you’ll never regret it if you decide to get one of them, FOR SURE.

Now, click to get a look at my Publications

And If You Want to be TEFL Certified?

Register for this live webcast. It is FREE


Leave a Reply