Brainstorming vocabulary is always a useful warm up or pre-lesson activity for all levels: usually the brainstorming is relevant to what follows e.g. a lesson looking at the weather will be preceded by teasing out various weather related vocabulary, expressions and idioms. This helps the student pre-learn any difficult or unusual terms which may be necessary in understanding the lesson as well as getting the student into general “prediction mode” to assist general comprehension of what follows.
I have found that brainstorming is also a useful activity in its own right, especially with elementary and pre-intermediate students who may lack confidence and are even embarrassed buy their own perception of their level of English. By focussing the brainstorm around the student’s interests and hobbies you can soon elicit a wealth of vocabulary and expressions which can then be exploited in other directions.
A good example is the ubiquitous football: with very little prompting my last student – pretty much elementary – soon filled an entire white board with football related words and expressions. From there it was a short step to take the language used and discover other meanings and usages. The “net” result was that the student was now able to use in everyday speech and words and expressions which he had known already,but only in a narrow context. This dramatically improved the student’s confidence.
With thanks to Alan Dawkins who wrote this article