Mind map your EFL teaching
In this post you can take a look at several mind maps, ranging from the simplest, drawn by hand on the board, to the more complex ones, created on the computer by drawing applications, or by mind mapping software.
Mind maps can explain anything. For example, you can easily teach grammar using spider diagrams like these ones. You can draw them on your computer. They are simple to draw and the topic is so easy to see and understand. They save time because once created they can be reused over and over again. You can show them to your students for a brief revision whenever you need to.
If computers are unavailable in your classroom, or if you didn’t prepare mind maps in advance, you can quickly sketch them on the board. Naturally, you don’t have to limit mind maps to grammar – they will work for vocabulary as well.
Whichever way you choose to create mind maps, you should be careful to organise the nodes well so that the hierarchy among them is clearly visible. Otherwise, you will have a confusion with a lot of lines and circles that intersect each other without any clearness. It is always good to draw in differentcolours if possible.
This is especially important for text analysis. A text content can be very complex matter. So besides teaching grammar and vocabulary, we also have an extralinguistic aspect to teach. It might be that in this area mind mapping performs in the most outstanding manner.
As I understand, human brain consists of neurons linked to each other by synapses. There are no lines of words queuing to be read and understood – the way they come in texts. In our brain there are only neural networks that mind maps resemble. It might be this similarity that makes mind maps so powerful.
For creating these complex mind maps I find specialised computer software really helpful. It helps you organise nodes in space better and offer a variety of fonts and colours to make distinction among different fields. The one I used for the map below is GoConqr. This is a mind map presenting the content of a text about schools in the English-speaking countries.
Using pictures or images might be a good idea for younger students. This can be an excellent way to practise both vocabulary and extralinguistic matter.
Anyway, be careful not to put too much in a map – if overloaded, it will be difficult to read.
Amusing English is a blog about teaching English as a foreign language. It offers lesson plans, ideas and strategies for English classes.