Mind Mapping and Language Education


Oh boy! Tighten your seat belts ladies and gents because why?! Because Hanna LOVES mind maps ?

I just loved mind maps as a kid in school. They were fun and got the creative juices flowing. At the time I thought it was just a fun thing to do and fill time but I never realised how much it actually helped me to learn.

Did you know that mind mapping is actually a science and can be used to teach all sorts of vocabulary and simplify grammar! Yes, you read that right. Mind mapping can help simplify grammar. Not only for your students but for you too. It is no secret that even teachers struggle with grammar sometimes.

Today I want to share that joy with you all.

Let’s start at the basics first.

  1. What on earth is a mind map?

According to wikipedia.org: “A mind map is a diagram used to visually organize information. A mind map is hierarchical and shows relationships among pieces of the whole.”

You know that picture with millions of little boxes connected with lines to other boxes that are then connected to one large box with the main topic in it… that’s a mind map. Think of a mind map as a tree, or a spider with many many legs.

A mind-map technique was created by Tony Buzan, the memory expert, and is actually a representation of how our brain processes and recalls information. I think that’s pretty cool!

  1. Preparing
Mind Mapping and Language Education

Before creating a mindmap, it’s important to prepare the information you want to learn. What is the topic? What are the core things related to that topic and then the small details associated with it?

All in all, what is it that you need to learn and remember? What references and associations are there?

  1. How do I make a mind map?

The most important thing to consider when creating a mind map is to keep it super simple. Mind maps are short and simple keywords and phrases and colours. You have to make your mind map memorable, that’s the whole point. Right?

Now you can design and create your own mind-blowing mind maps with amazing digital software.

It is not uncommon for businesses and corporations to use mind mapping in their team collaborations. In fact, it is the new trend in massive corporations. It saves time and streamlines time work by making the team more efficient. Ever heard of Realtimeboard? Check them out here: Realtimeboard.com

My personal favourtie is: Mindmeister.com

Mind Mapping and Language Education

I promise you won’t regret checking this one out, especially since their maps are designed for teaching vocabulary and grammar. They have even written an article on it! See here.

  1. When to use mind maps

What is the basis of learning a language? Vocabulary, right? Without it, there will be no language development. Building vocabulary can be extremely overwhelming and intimidating to the student. To be honest, there is no real simple way to learn vocabulary and simple speech or text.

Think about how students are learning vocabulary today? The traditional school method was always 3 columns of text. The 1st is the new language, 2nd was phonics and 3rd was the 2nd language being learned. However, this isn’t the best technique, at least not since mind maps were created in the ’70s. This format is boring, monotonous and no associations or connections are being made from 3 columns. In fact, the words list just keeps growing making it feel like a mountain on students’ shoulders.

Sometimes in a live class, it can be impossible to keep up with the lecturer meaning there is no time to write down word for word what the lecturer is saying. You will fall behind and miss critical information. Rather use a mind map and note down the key aspects of the topic being addressed. When you use a form of mind mapping to take notes it makes it much easier to recall the information as it is broken up into smaller more significant little chunks.

Apart from taking notes, if you plan correctly and in advance, you can use mind mapping as a tool for so many different aspects.

  1. Studying for exams, especially if you have little time to prepare.
  2. Planning Essays and the information you want to convey.
  3. Writing storylines.
  4. Creative thinking and inspiration.
  5. Problem-solving.
  6. Group studies when cramming for school or work.
  7. Public speaking and speeches.
  8. Job interviews.
  9. Presentations.

At the end of the day mind maps are proven to mental triggers as we connect the dots during our natural thought and information recall process thus it is only natural to memorise and learn the same way our brain operates.

  1. Why are mind maps better?

This is the awesome part! It’s just a much more practical and hands-on approach to learning. When I think of word associations, my favourite is collocations. Can you picture them in a mind map? I bet you can!  It would be so easy to add new words and build the perfect map which flows the way our brains do! The information is clean and not cluttered. We make associations with colours and content words.

Each mind map can be themed and keep them in a file so that they are easy to find. You can even keep them in alphabetical order for your convenience.

English vocabulary — Food and Beverage

  1. Food.
  2. Fruits.
  3. Dinks.

English Vocabulary

  1. Farm Animals — pigs, goats, cows.
  2. House Animals — dogs, cats, birds.

Mind maps aren’t only for school kids. It is suitable and flexible for people of all ages in various fields. The sky is the limit. Mind maps can be a little daunting at first but you should try it and apply it to your classes, whether it’s writing, vocabulary, grammar, presentations, IELTS exams.

Here are some resources which I have found helpful and interesting: «Using mind maps develop writingching» and «Mind maps language learning». Did you know there was a mind mapping study done in Russia?

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