No matter the level of education, as a teacher, you might come across difficulties when it comes to teaching. You need to juggle with many variables – making sure your point is getting across, offering your students an engaging lesson and so on. And as we all know, traditional teaching methods, while tried and tested for years, might be lacking in some areas. Well, we have good news – mind mapping is a very efficient tool for teachers. Let’s find out how!
A mindmap is a tool used for visually representing concepts, words, tasks, or ideas linked to a central subject. It’s often used to better organize new information, it’s organized into smaller hierarchies and clearly shows the relations between the pieces of the puzzle.
Mind maps are great because they essentially turn a tedious list of tasks into a colorful diagram that’s very organized and easy to remember. Can you already see why it’s such a great tool for teachers?
Now that we got the basics out of the way, let’s see how mind mapping can help you improve your teaching and achieve the impossible – get your students to always pay attention.
1. Lesson Planning
Mind mapping is a great way for you to plan your lessons. Before each lesson, start with the main topic of interest and add keywords and branches that are relevant to it. If you’re using mind mapping software, it will be easier to mix and match the information as needed. Mind mapping can even help you plan the entire curriculum at the beginning of the year. A mind map will give you a clear overview of what needs to be covered in the school year.
2. Organizing Ideas
As a teacher, you might always find yourself jotting down notes and observations. Instead of keeping them disorganized in countless agendas that you’re probably going to lose, why not use them to make a mindmap? This will allow you to keep every idea in one place so nothing gets lost. And who knows, new topics might emerge from them!
3. Better Teaching
You can bring mind maps to your classroom as well. They’re extremely powerful tools for brainstorming, generating new ideas and even debating a topic. And because they’re non-linear (unlike a PowerPoint presentation), they will keep your students engaged for longer. Add to that the fact that everyone’s contribution is valuable and you have the ultimate teaching tool.
At the end of the lesson, students usually receive a handout that outlines the main topics of what was discussed. Usually, these handouts are more complicated than the lesson itself and students have a hard time understanding them. This is where a mindmap comes to the rescue – it can be easily printed on one page and given out to students. And since it will only contain the most important information, it will be easier for your students to remember it.
5. Improved Presentations
Presentations are a very important part when it comes to teaching. They help students develop their communication and argumentation skills. And let’s face it – PowerPoint presentations, while useful, are always boring and hard to follow. So why not have your students hold a presentation based on a mind map? It’s a stronger information provider, as it uses efficient brain triggers, and will keep the audience more engaged.
It’s a known fact that students work better when they’re allowed to be creative. So let them use mind maps to brainstorm and come up with new ideas. A mindmap is nothing but an empty canvas that can be filled with great ideas. By allowing your students to “escape” the pen and paper or the Word document, you’re stimulating their creativity and allowing them to better express themselves.
Every student hates homework. Ideally, they should be getting all the information they need in class. But sometimes, it might do them good to review and practice. That’s when a mindmap becomes a student’s (and teacher’s) best friend – have your students do a mind map with the information they learned in class. It will be easier for them to jot down ideas and easier for you to check what information they lack and where you should place focus next.
At the end of the day, all that matters is that your students understand the lesson. After every lesson, you should have your students draw mind maps about what they understood. This will allow them to fill in the gaps right from the get-go, so they can leave your classroom feeling like they actually understood the lesson. This will also help you see which parts of your teaching work and which don’t.
We hope this article sheds a bit more light on the many advantages mind mapping has for teachers. On top of everything that we’ve discussed, mind mapping will help your students develop critical thinking and creative writing, which are two great life skills to have.
What about you? Have you started using mind maps for your students already? If so, tell us about your experience in the comments below!