The benefits of mind maps for teachers
By: Grace Godwin
At all levels of education, teachers and educators often face difficulties when trying to find the best way to communicate important topics to their students. Traditional teaching methods can sometimes lack certain elements that are essential to students’ understanding and retention of knowledge. Not to mention, lectures can be downright boring, and learning becomes impossible when the students aren’t paying attention in the first place. This is where mind mapping for learning comes into play. Mind mapping is a teaching tool that is both effective and fun for teachers and their students alike. On top of that, teachers can implement mind maps into their lesson planning as an easier way to structure and organize curriculum. The benefits of mind maps for teachers are varied, making it easier for educators to communicate with their students and colleagues, and streamlining information and knowledge management.
Mind mapping strategies for teachers
Mind mapping for teachers is especially helpful for those who are striving to take their conventional teaching methods to the next level. The simple and easy to use format of mind maps makes it attractive to both teachers and administrators because it allows users to visualize information and then draw connections between points.
Every teacher understands the challenges that accompany curriculum planning, as well as the struggle to provide assignments and projects from which students will actually benefit. Educators chose the profession for a reason—because they understand the value of knowledge, and the importance of passing it on to others. Unfortunately, too many schools fail to incorporate alternative teaching methods into their lesson plans.
Thankfully, our current educational institutions have come a long way from the old ways of teaching with the classic chalk and blackboards. There is an abundance of mind mapping strategies for teachers that have been shown to help students thoroughly grasp complex concepts, communicate ideas, and better organize information.
Here mind mapping tips for teachers to help you get started:
- Use mind mapping software to plan your lessons. Start with the high level topics for each lesson, and fill in the information that is relevant to those subjects. Move information around as needed to create a structured plan.
- Stay organized with mind maps. Digital mind mapping is the perfect tool for keeping track of tasks, lesson plans, to-dos, and even information about your students. Transfer your important information from paper into a mind map, and use this as your central dashboard to organize your work.
- Incorporate mind maps into your teaching. Mind maps as a teaching tool are invaluable for group brainstorming, presentations, and for generating discussion. Their non-linear and visual framework make then more engaging for students that a PowerPoint deck. You can also use mind maps to present new topics, and even print them off for students to take home as study notes.
- Encourage mind mapping for creativity. Students work better when their minds are allowed to work at a natural pace. Mind mapping frees students from the confines of pen and paper (or a Word document), allowing them to be more creative. Encourage your students to use mind mapping when generating new ideas or plans.
- Use mind maps to assess and track student progress. Mind maps are great for keeping tracking of performance information about your students. Data and notes can be kept into a centralized, easy-to-access location that you can use for creating report cards, or briefing yourself before parent-teacher meetings.
- Mind mapping for greater comprehension. Finally, mind mapping has been proven to help students understand and retain information more effectively than many traditional teaching methods. If your students are struggling to understand more complex or challenging topics, then consider presenting the information to them in a mind map. This framework makes it easier to draw connections between different pieces of information, helping to formulate a complete understanding of a topic.
Although taking notes is still a common and effective learning method, it fails to engage our brains the same way mind mapping does. Traditional note-taking can be tedious, boring, and often monotonous when compared to learning through visual stimulation. Mind mapping for teachers is a great alternative to these traditional methods.
First, mind maps helps to capture the attention of visual thinkers who struggle to learn through traditional teaching methods. Students often have a hard time staying focused during mundane lectures, especially when the lesson consists of a colorless PowerPoint presentation, for example. To combat this, teachers can create vibrant and interactive mind maps for their lectures and do away with some of the standard schooling approaches.
How to use mind maps as a teaching tool
For any of the skeptical teachers out there reading this, let’s now get to the specifics of how and why mind maps work. It can be tough to change your old habits, but it will be well worth it to put aside those go-to PowerPoint slides and explore the world of mind mapping.
When creating a lesson plan or lecture notes, teachers can create a main topic and connect it to other important points, where links and files can then be embedded. Normally, it requires many different documents to display notes and information. An instructor may have to switch back and forth between lecture notes, research articles, and so on. Mind maps, on the other hand, provide a solution to what can sometimes be a messy process. All of the relevant information and attachments can be combined into one space.
Important dates, schedules, documents, and just about anything else can be incorporated into the mind map and then easily shared with students or colleagues for easy communication and collaboration. As a student myself, I am constantly striving to keep organized with various assignments and obligations. Like everyone else, I find myself overwhelmed from time to time by life’s constant endeavors. Mind mapping has helped me stay thoroughly organized and on top of my tasks by combining due dates and assignments all in one place, and the ability to prioritize information visually makes a huge difference in the way I work. In other words, it improves my efficiency and understanding of certain goals and information.
Here’s a detailed MindManager template for university teachers that helps them organize every level of a university course. This can be used to plan course logistics, subject matter, and even class size.
Mind mapping for teachers: the results
When teachers use mind maps in the classroom, the results are astonishing. It’s amazing what we can learn when we are provided with a more comprehensive view of a topic.
Need proof? Take a look at this case study that shows how a high school physics teacher reduced his prep time by 90%, while dramatically improving the quality of his lessons using mind maps.
Here is an example of how this physics teacher used MindManager to explain the photoelectric effect to his students:
These results are due to the unique structure and freedom that mind mapping offers. Students are able to see a genuine link between topics and can make sense of the relationships as represented through colored lines. Mind mapping can be particularly helpful in areas like research, where there may be an overload of information from different sources.
When faced with a complicated matter, the ability to see the bigger picture and then connect the dots is extremely effective for most people. Stress and information overload can negatively impact both students’ and teachers’ performance, but mind mapping is a progressive solution to this problem.
Like everything else in the world today, the way we learn is changing and evolving. While technology has its drawbacks, it has provided us with tools that have aided in vastly improving the ways we learn and comprehend knowledge. Mind mapping is a great example of this; for teachers, it can help to reshape their students’ classroom experience. On the other hand, mind mapping software is extremely helpful for teachers when creating and sharing clear lesson plans with colleagues and administrators. Ultimately, everyone benefits when teachers use mind mapping for learning.
Curious about mind maps for teachers?
Are you an educator who is curious about using mind mapping in the class room? Here are some links to mind mapping template that you can use to get started:
- Benefits of mind mapping in education
- Study techniques with mind maps
- Steps to writing an essay
- Mind mapping a book report
Plus, you’re welcome to take a free trial of MindManager for 30 days. Start yours today!
About the Author: Grace is an intern with Corel Corporation, and a college senior currently working towards completing a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology. She has a strong passion for writing and market research, and has joined the Corel team on a part-time basis to contribute to the MindManager Blog.