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Plus, Minus & Interesting [PMI]    

Rationale

Plus minus interesting (PMI) strategy is a creative lateral thinking tool developed by Edward de Bono. PMI (plus, minus, interesting) is a brainstorming, decision making and critical thinking tool. It is used to encourage the examination of ideas, concepts and experiences from more than one perspective.

The PMI tool can be used to critically examine texts, analyze the implications or consequences of actions and to stimulate the sharing of thoughts and ideas. Using the PMI tool, students are encouraged to broaden their thinking, consider the topic from different perspectives and take decisions weighing the pros and cons of the action. When used as a cooperative tool, it stimulates brainstorming of ideas and consensus seeking.

A PMI strategy can help your students to:

  •  to brainstorm ideas
  • encourages the examination of ideas and concepts from different perspectives
  • use this reflection tool to look at the positives, minuses and implications or interesting facts about an event
  • critique ideas individually or together to form an opinion or make a decision
  •  make decisions quickly by analysing and weighing the pros and cons
  • reflect upon or evaluate a product or processs after the fact
  •  identify strengths and weaknesses for future improvement

PMI is a three-columned thinking strategy that encourages the thinker to first consider and list the Plus points of an idea. Next the Minus or negative points are listed. Finally those points that are neither positive nor negative, but simply interesting are written down. The “Interesting” column encourages creative thinking about other possibilities or ideas. Sometimes these are recorded as questions to consider. Note the interesting column can be changed for a particular purpose- e.g. it could become recommendations if the students are required to discover new solutions or ideas for a particular context.

Brainstorming strategy is itemised here.

PMI
(Source: Religion Curriculum)

Process

Students are given a sheet in which to record their ideas. The PMI tool is a paper that has three columns drawn on it, titled “plus, minus and interesting” respectively. Students are instructed to write down the positives, negatives and interesting features or outcomes of the text or action, in the respective columns. They can be given a time frame to brainstorm and write down their ideas, after which a presenter can be chosen from each group, to explain their findings.

  1. Establish the question, idea or problem. This could entail the use of stimulus material.
  2. Get the students to draw up three columns with the headings: Plus, Minus and Interesting
  3. Brainstorm ideas and write them down under each column
  4. Discuss ideas and thoughts with a partner or the whole class

 

We can also use the following methods to implement it in the classroom:

Whole Class Approach: When used as a whole class activity, the format can be drawn on the board and students are encouraged to voice out their ideas that are in turn written in their respective columns. It can also be used along with the carousel technique to generate maximum ideas.

Scoring: When deciding on whether or not to take a particular course of action, we can use a scoring system along with the PMI tool. Each idea in the plus, minus and interesting category is given a scoring from (-3 to +3). After scoring each idea, we can tally up the figures to decide if an action should be taken or not.

Sorting: A variation of the tool is the “Keep it, junk it, and put in the cloud method.” In this, the important information is placed under the “keep it” category, the not so important information in the “junk it” category and those that are to be put aside for further introspection in the “cloud” category.

Review: Students can also use a PMI tool to review eg. the books read during the year; the plans discovered in history; the ideas for climate change.

Feedback and Evaluation: PMI tool can be used as a closure activity for students to write down the takeaway or key points of the lesson.

 

Idea, Question, Problem
Plus

What's good about the idea
Minus

The bad points of the idea
Interesting

What is interesting? What are the possibilities
     
     
     
     
     

PMI
(Source: Ideas Sandbox)

More resources

Ideas Sandbox Concept Board
Blendspace

YouTube: Best Practices: Plus, Minus, Interest (PMI) in High School [Art]
https://youtu.be/UDIlaOwsFB0

 

YouTube: Plus Minus Interesting - Teacher Training [Drug Education]
https://youtu.be/nhdgrD6_Qjw

 

YouTube: Plus Minus Interesting
https://youtu.be/CPOPHKW7TRo

 

 

 

Examples within On the Job website

Construction Worker

Construction Worker

What is the future of construction jobs? PMI Strategy

MiddleMiddle  High SchoolSecondary

Lesson Strategy:
Plus, Minus, & Interesting
Spraypainter

Spraypainter


Solvents, Spray Painters & Brain Health: What do you know? PMI Strategy

MiddleMiddle  High SchoolSecondary

Lesson Strategy:
Plus, Minus, & Interesting
Surgeon

Surgeon
From floating guts to 'sticky' blood - here's how to do surgery in space: PMI Strategy

MiddleMiddle  High SchoolSecondary

Lesson Strategy:
Plus, Minus, & Interesting

 

Materials sourced from
A-Z Strategies [p.84]

Professional Learning Board
Virtual Library
Digital Learning Selector - NSW Dept Education

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