All kids at a young age dream of becoming a teacher. Until getting to the point when they don’t because they got one or two teachers in school. Being a teacher is a demanding job. Teachers, at the same time, can be loved and hated, praised and criticized, respected and disrespected, idolized and vilified by their students.
Aside from their family, children grow side by side with their teachers as well, so consequently, they can be their best friends and biggest enemies. Teachers should be an example to their students as they have an immense role in teaching them the basics of many important subjects.
Because of this strong relationship, teachers have to be experienced, skilled, and always prepared to teach, listen, understand, support, guide, and help students to follow the right path. Teaching stands for investing to forge a quality relationship with your students by using personal and professional skills, as well as practical techniques and methods.
One very advantageous technique that can assist teachers in achieving their best in the classroom is mind mapping. Mind mapping is a very adaptable technique that can find wide use in the classroom for both students and teachers. Mind maps can be created in different formats by including images, colors, words, arrows, symbols, and more, which can be fun and engaging for the students.
However, today we are going to put in the focus the teachers and the benefits they can get from mind mapping.
Planning a lecture
It stands for a reason that an excellent teacher makes an excellent lecturer as well. Having valuable knowledge but not knowing how to share it with students means a pity for teachers. So someone who has the required knowledge undoubtedly needs to possess the necessary skills and to make use of different tools and methods in the classroom so that knowledge is passed on.
A mind map is great for planning a lecture on whatever subject. In its center, you can place a precise and clear definition of the topic in question and then branch out every important piece of information and facts. The map can serve to you as a teaching guide during the lecture and it can be shared with your students in hard copy so that they can follow the lecture more carefully. It will help them to better understand the lesson and quickly memorize different facts.
Managing a class
Every teacher has their own style of managing a classroom. However, aside from creating a comfortable environment, teachers have to make a plan about how to manage the class. In terms of the management of a class, there are different ways that can become interesting for the students.
After you make a plan for the lecture, a proper plan for its delivery to your students has to be created as well. With the help of a mind map can be planned every minute of the class.
Creating an annual lesson-calendar
Before the beginning of the school year, every teacher needs to prepare properly for the upcoming teaching lessons. Most of the time, teachers prepare their lesson calendars on a semester basis. Since at the beginning of each semester they are informed how many days have on disposal during the summer and winter semester, they mostly break the dates into three sections: teaching new lessons, repeating lessons, or preparing for exams and exams.
A practical calendar in which you would have the space to mark all these dates and accompany them with all needed descriptions and notes always comes in handy. And this is where a mind map can save the day or the whole year for that matter. In a specially designed calendar mind map, is possible for you to organize all this information. A lesson calendar will definitely help you to always stay up-to-date and prepare for the upcoming activities.
Preparing educational presentations and leading a discussion
If you are a teacher, you can choose one date in the month on which you will organize a slightly different flow of the classroom. And on this day you can use the mind mapping technique. According to the subject you are teaching, choose a familiar topic that would be engaging for your students. On this day you don’t have to teach them new things but develop a fruitful discussion.
You can start by creating a presentation that you will present in front of them. For this presentation with a mind map can be made a guide which will be shared with your students. The mind map would contain important information from the presentation that you would discuss later. After the presentation is finished start a conversation and let your students ask and answer questions simply by following the information included in the mind map.
Creating engaging quizzes
Repeating learned lessons and preparing for exams can be a tedious and unexciting activity for students. So teachers must think of new, more captivating ways for these kinds of days, when a lesson learned has to be repeated. One great idea is to create fun and engaging exercises and quizzes. This way students will feel more comfortable participating and sharing what they have learned on a particular subject.
The mind mapping technique is ideal for the creation of attractive quizzes and exercises. As a teacher, you are responsible for making the classroom leading the classroom in the right direction. Create numerous templates of fun quizzes with images, colors and symbols, open-ended questions, and everything you could think of, print and share them with your students. Leave them time to reflect and then start the fun.
Creating feedback and evaluation templates
It may come as a surprise for some teachers if they receive unexpected feedback from their students. Sometimes in classes with a large number of students, teachers might not notice if someone is struggling with the material or is not satisfied with the manner in which new lessons are prepared.
So soliciting evaluation from your students is a practice that can significantly improve your work and refine your teaching skills. From students’ feedback, you can get a realistic picture of which teaching methods work and don’t work in your classroom. Use mind mapping to prepare and share these templates in your class. Since a mind map is a versatile tool, you can create diverse feedback forms that would be anonymously completed.
Preparing student performance evaluation
Similar to the teachers’ feedback and evaluation templates, students’ performance evaluation can be very beneficial for both teachers and students. Evaluations are great practice for providing students assistance in their performance at school. It has been found that giving regular evaluations to your students can form a healthy competition in the classroom and stimulate students to go beyond their known limits.
But instead of collecting and processing a huge amount of information for every student throughout the whole year, do it on a semestral basis. With the support of mind mapping software create performance evaluation templates. They can include many important aspects which can influence and form a final student’s grade. At the begging of the semester, you can make a discrete mind map for each student. Place each name in the center and branch out the map in branches that correspond to your needs. Depending on your preferred method of evaluation you can create a branch for exam points, class attendance, written homework, discussion participation, and more.
Developing homework exercises
Homework is considered a tiresome and uninspiring task for the majority of the students. This is the case because mostly they don’t find exercises interesting and often choose not to complete them, which can negatively impact their grade. Therefore teachers should start looking for innovative ways that will make this activity more engaging for their students. By giving exercises that are developed to push students to do more thorough research, analysis, and assessment, both teachers and students would benefit.
So instead of the classic writing an essay, Q&A, and right-or-wrong exercises give your students a homework exercise they can’t leave uncompleted. Compose blank mind maps and give your students a certain topic to reflect on. Provide them with examples of mind maps so that they have an idea of how to start mind mapping.
Organizing group projects
Giving group projects as an assignment is a practice among teachers. Regardless of the type of the group project, whether is planned as homework or as a class activity, the workflow is more or less the same. Group projects give the possibility to master numerous skills and abilities including staying organized, being tolerant, becoming comfortable at speaking in a group, and more.
So once or twice in a while brainstorming a subject for a group project and break your class into a few teams. Create a mind map that will consist of every little detail about the given project. Position the topic in the center and branch out important information about the whole project. Add goals and objectives, assignments, questions and answers, deadlines, and everything you consider a valuable input. In addition, include helpful tips and examples to guide students in the right direction. This way you will avoid misinterpretation of the assignment and will help them to make a better project.
Arranging brainstorming sessions in class
Brainstorming in the classroom is a great strategy for increasing motivation, inspiring fresh ideas and improving productivity and problem-solving skills, and learning how to work in a team. Brainstorming sessions can be organized in many settings, such as when discussing familiar topics, making presentations, or preparing team projects.
Schedule a brainstorming session whenever you think is the best time. Since usually this type of session creates a relaxed atmosphere which has a positive impact on students’ mood it is a good idea to arrange them before the exams period. Brainstorming is a stimulating activity that encourages discussion and the exchange of ideas and opinions. Accompanied by a mind map, it can facilitate the process of memorizing and help to work through different types of problems. So think of a central topic related to a lesson you have recently taught and share a mind map template for brainstorming with your students.
Organizing team exercises in class
Working in teams is an activity that is liked and at the same time disliked by some of the students. But this activity has many advantages. For one, by working in teams students learn to communicate better, improve their planning and organizing skills, become more open to comments and criticism, increase their productivity, efficiency, effectiveness, and more.
In class, motivate students to work in teams on different tasks. When is ‘repeating’ day prepare them mind maps with exercises and divide the class into groups. Think of engaging puzzles or riddles and create vivid mind maps with images and words. Give them to your students and let them work in teams towards finding the solution. For the winning team compose symbolic presents in order to increase the team’s spirit in the class and invite students to work in teams more often.
About the author
Kristina Gjorgievska, a content writer and translator. Eternal inspiration: magical Italy, Jim Morrison’s poetry, Bernardo Bertolucci’s timeless “Stealing Beauty”, the dynamic and meditative Ashtanga Yoga. You can connect with Kristina on LinkedIn.