Applications of mind maps in teaching

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Apart from familiarising his or her students with the theory and practice for Mind Mapping, the teacher can use Mind Maps in a number of practical ways to make teaching and learning easier and more enjoyable.

1 Preparing lecture notes

One of the most powerful ways to use Mind Maps is as lecture notes. Preparing a lecture in Mind Map form is much faster than writing it out and has the big advantage of allowing the lecturer and the student to keep an overview of the whole subject at all times. A Mind Mapped lecture is easy to update from year to year without becoming messy and its mnemonic qualities mean that a brief overview before the lecture quickly brings the topic right back into focus. Because the lecturer's own knowledge will evolve the same Mind Map will trigger quite different lectures if used from year to year. This avoids the tedium of stale lecture notes without requiring any extra work! It makes lecturing more fun and more interesting for both the lecturer and the students/audience.

As a framework for lecturing, a Mind Map enables the speaker to hold a perfect balance between a spontaneously spoken and fresh talk, on the one hand, and a clear and well-structured presentation on the other. It allows accurate time-keeping during the lecture or, if the time allowed changes for some reason, it allows the speaker to edit 'on the move' to adjust the talk to a greater or lesser length, as required. This editing function can also be very useful if some new information becomes available just before the lecture (a news story, a previous speaker).

The Mind Map on page 226 was done by Barry Buzan for a wide ranging lecture to a gathering of academics and foreign policy officials. The topic in the centre was fixed by the organisers of the conference and was therefore not reduced to a single word or a simple image. There are quite a few code words on the Mind Map that point to areas of knowledge or to the ideas of other authors that are familiar to the speaker. Note the long-line architecture, which provides an alternative way of laying out the primary and secondary branches. From this kind of Mind Map, a properly qualified lecturer could speak for ten minutes or ten hours. Any one of the main branches could itself be a lecture, so this could also be an outline for a course. It could be (and was) used as a university lecture. It could be (and in this case wasn't) used as a preparatory sketch for writing an article.

The Mind Map on Chemical Kinetics on page 227 (top) was prepared by Graham Wheeler, head of Chemistry at Herschel Grammar School in England. The Mind Map covers an entire section of a chemistry course for senior students preparing to go to university, and is used both by the teacher, to plan and guide his own lecturing, and by the students to help them follow the lectures.

Over the five-year period during which Graham Wheeler has taught A-level Chemistry with Mind Maps, he has had a 98 per cent pass rate.

Yearly planning

The Mind Map can be used to give the teacher an overview of the whole year's study programme, showing the term divisions and the type of lessons to be given. (For instance, a geography teacher could get an idea of annual frequency of field trips and slide presentations in relation to standard lessons.)

%J Term planning

This is a sub-division of the yearly plan, and often takes the form of a smaller Mind Map expanding from a branch or branches on the yearly programme. The term plan might show which topics from the curriculum the teacher intends to cover and in roughly what order.

■ Daily planning

This takes a similar form to that of the daily Mind Map diary described in Chapter 20 (pages 191-7), and would record the specific details of lessons, such as start and finish time, classroom, topic to be covered, and so on.

Lessons and presentations

Using a large blackboard, whiteboard, flip chart, or an overhead projector, the teacher can draw, as the lesson progresses, the corresponding part of the Mind Map. This externalised reflection of the thought process will help clarify the structure of the lesson. It will also hold the students' interest and enhance their memory and understanding of the subject covered. 'Skeleton' Mind Maps can also be handed out for the student to complete or black and white photocopies can be provided for students to colour themselves.

VI Examinations

If the purpose of an examination is to test the students' knowledge and understanding rather than their writing ability, the Mind Map is the ideal solution. It can show the teacher at a glance whether or not the student has a general grasp of the subject, as well as his or her major strengths and weaknesses. The Mind Map also reveals those areas where the chain of association has, for some reason, gone awry. This approach gives the teacher a clear and objective idea of the student's state of knowledge, uncluttered by judgements about skills in other areas such as grammatical correctness, spelling ability and neatness of handwriting. In addition it saves a huge amount of time normally spent reading and marking piles of examination scripts!

This concept has been taken farther by Christine Hogan, Director of the School of Management, Curtin University of Technology in Perth, Australia. As co-ordinator of undergraduate Organisational Behaviour programmes Hogan introduced Mind Mapping to all staff and students. She says:

to to

Mind Map For Organisational Behaviour

Mind Map by Professor Barry Buz an for a wide-ranging lecture to a gathering of academics and foreign policy officials (see page 224).

Mind Mapping Chemistry

Mind Map on Chemical Kinetics by Graham Wheeler covering an entire section of a chemistry course (see page 224).

Mind Maps Subject Chemical
Mind Map by Superintendent Douglas Brand considering training (see page 229).

'We introduced it as an examination tool. At the beginning of the semester students were given a unit guide plus objectives for each week. On the opposite page they were encouraged to make a summary Mind Map. They were told that a Mind Map would appear on the exam and they would be given a choice of weekly topics, e.g.:

Choose either "motivation" or ",leadership" and draw a Mind Map illustrating the basic theories!concept/models and your own ideas on the topic. Use a double page in your answer book.

We then developed a scheme in which we could grade students' Mind Maps:

Marking Scheme a) Content:

Breadth (coverage of range of theories I concepts) 5

Depth (coverage of detail) 5

b) Covered own ideas 4

c) Used Mind Mapping strategies:

Colour 2 Symbol 2 Arrows _2


We believe that Mind Mapping is a strategy that can be used to encourage "deep" rather than "surface" learning. Biggs and Telfer (1987), and Marton and Slajo (1976) conducted research into deep and surface learning where "deep" is intrinsically motivated, where students try to understand the meaning to their work and understand the context of new ideas and concepts. 'Surface' learning tends to be externally motivated and leads to rote learning.

Watkins and Hattie (1985) indicate that surface approaches are most frequently used successfully at primary and secondary level and that few students find it necessary to modify their strategies at university level. Many of our students are being asked to change to deep learning in Mind Mapping where they are encouraged to see the whole picture and make connections between theories, concepts and their own ideas'

/ Projects

Mind Maps are ideal for planning, monitoring and presenting projects. They encourage comprehensive and focused thinking in the early stages, enable both teacher and student to check on progress and observe the growing web of interrelated information, and provide an ideal framework for either written or oral presentations at the end.

The Mind Map can be especially useful in professional education. In the London Metropolitan Police Service (a body of 44,000 personnel) training is a growing and major concern. Superintendent Douglas Brand used a Mind Map (see page 227, bottom) to consider all residual issues concerning training after the Service had completed a general review. The Mind Map shows how both comprehensive considerations and intricate details can be incorporated on a single Mind Map. It also covers areas that those involved in training might find useful for themselves.

Another example shows how Mind Maps can be used to plan lessons in one of the fastest-growing areas of learning at the moment: language training. The Mind Map on page 230 was drawn as a lesson plan for a group of non-native English speakers by Charles La Fond, who runs a series of international language training schools. The pictures in the Mind Map are designed to stimulate the minds of the students to ask questions during the course of teaching, to encourage discussion and to indicate activity. This Mind Map provides a day's worth of learning and is also used as a review.

The companion Mind Map, on page 231, shows in even more detail how Mind Maps can be used specifically for the teaching of grammar. The Mind Map by Lars Soderberg, a Swedish master linguist and teacher, incorporates a comprehensive overview of the main elements of French grammar on a single page. In a single 'visual grasp' the Mind Map takes that which for many is considered difficult, if not impossible, and makes it clear and easily accessible.

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