Mind mapping and its benefits

Understanding how the technique helps link teaching with learning, enabling students to “learn how to learn”

Image Credit: Supplied
Tony Buzan

On March 17, Lexicon Reading Centre is hosting a lecture by Tony Buzan, inventor of the Mind Mapping technique, at The Library, Rashid Hospital, Dubai. The Mind Mapping for Students with Dyslexia and Dysgraphia is a workshop to help educators detect students’ understanding of presented information, diagnose and remedy students’ learning issues efficiently, and connect with them through visual maps. The mind mapping technique helps link teaching with learning, enabling students to “learn how to learn”. It also fosters creativity, ideas generation, enquiry and problem solving.

Buzan spoke to The weekend tabloid! last week regarding the technique and how it can be used to enhance learning.

 

Please explain what mind mapping is about

Mind map is a thinking map like the map of a city, but for your mind. A mind map is used to help you find your way around your thoughts.

The intrinsic tendency of the brain is not learn in a linear format, but through imagination and association. Based on this insight, the technique employs visual representation of individual thought processes to provide a creative, innovative and efficient tool for learning. It is a powerful graphic technique which provides a universal key to unlock the potential of the brain by using an array of colourful graphics connected to a central topic. It harnesses the full range of cortical skills — word, image, number, logic, rhythm, colour and spatial awareness — in a single, uniquely powerful manner. In so doing, it gives you the freedom to roam the infinite expanses of your brain. A mind map can be applied to every aspect of life where improved learning and clearer thinking will enhance human performance as it helps organise thoughts and gives an easy-to-follow structure to the learning process.

 

How much is the technique still viable in our digitally oriented world where varied information is available at the click of a button?

We live in a world that increasingly seems to require more of intelligence and ingenuity in its young minds. As people tend to depend on hi-tech gadgets to provide information, there is very little effort to improve memory skills or think creatively. Mind maps stimulate “comparison thinking” and encourage capacity for creative associations.

Also, due to the same gadgets, attention spans have shrunk, so much so sometimes a half-hour class is not long enough for a child to grasp what’s happening in class. A teacher may create a teaching plan but does the child have enough time to understand or create a mind map for himself, so he can take in the information and write it down at the same time?

It is important for teaching institutions to allocate time for children to understand and then interpret the information through techniques such as mind mapping. If we don’t have time to teach children the right way of learning, then it will be a waste of time. If what is being taught cannot be remembered or understood by the child then it defeats the purpose of the efforts and time expended by both parties. This is why around the globe so many parents are removing their children from traditional educational systems and enrolling them into home-school systems where they have the freedom to express themselves in a creative manner or even day-dream and make use of colour in their learning process.

 

At the same time, does taking notes in class help in really educating a child? Would it not be better to make them understand and create their own ideas from that understanding? What should the focus then be in a class — listening or writing?

Rote learning or taking notes verbatim, in monotone colours with no interesting visuals does not help in remembering, rather it promotes forgetting! One must encourage children to document their lessons in a manner that is engaging and natural to them. Of course listening is important, but kids should also be given a reasonable interval to jot down their understanding of what was taught in class, in the form of mind maps. These mind maps help children record and recollect what they understand in class in a personalised manner, which also makes for a great revision tool.

 

The workshop is Dh550 per head. Log on to www.lexiconreadingcenter.org or call 050-7954428 to register.

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