Six Ways to “Report Back” after Brainstorming

Last week, I wrote about brainstorming (if you missed that blog post/interview with Hall Houston & Gerhard Erasmus, click here I learned some interesting things about brainstorming from my interview with them despite 20 years of teaching! It just goes to show that being an ESL/EFL teacher can never get boring if you like learning, and want to continue to develop your teaching skills.

So what happens after students have brainstormed? A common teaching technique is to have students report back to the whole class. As a teacher or trainer, do you know more than one way to have students report back or do you use the same technique again and again? In order to keep things interesting for our students (and for us as teachers), it is important to try new techniques.

Here are 6 different techniques for reporting back:

1. The most common method is to ask the groups to write down their ideas on flipchart paper and then get someone from each group to present the information. (Remember to tell Ss that you want them to write points down BEFORE they get into groups! Also, the recorder for the group should not be the presenter either).

2. If you ask the first group to report back, the other groups may have nothing new to say when it comes to their turn. (I don’t know about you, but I find it incredibly boring to listen to group after group repeat the same information). One way to avoid this is to ask each group to give you one point, then move on to another group until all the groups have contributed. (To keep Ss on their toes, rotate around the groups in a different order for each question). Remind students to ONLY provide points that have not been mentioned by other groups.
3. Another technique is to give groups different questions to discuss related to the same topic of course. This is more work for the teacher, but can result in more engaged students and potentially more discussion.

4. One method that I like is to ask groups to write their key points on flipchart paper and then display their work on the walls. This gives students a chance to get up, walk around, and talk to other students (in English of course). This “gallery” approach provides Ss with an opportunity to ask questions if they have any rather than having every group report back. This works well when you have a class that is a few hours long.

5. Ask Ss to summarize their ideas using visual images instead of bullet points. Let them be creative! Again, you could use the “gallery” approach so that Ss are moving around and interacting.

6. Finally, groups could report back in the form of an interview, with one person acting as the interviewer and another acting as the guest being interviewed. This works well when you have a time during your lesson and a small class size.

If you have other ideas for “reporting back”, please post your comments.

Thanks for reading. Patrice

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