What happens when you find an interesting and unique way to learn English?
Think of a technique where you don’t need to learn those endless lists of vocabulary by heart or worry about understanding every single element of grammar.
Welcome to the wonderful world of mind mapping.
This technique can make your language learning process simpler and more interesting.
Mind maps are tools that can help you improve your English in a way that feels more natural, and in a way that reflects how your brain really works.
So, what actually is Mind Mapping?
Put simply, it involves simple graphical representations that bring more clarity and a better understanding of any given topic.
With mind maps, information is structured in a way that shows the connections between things.
It’s how our brains actually work - through connections between ideas, words, and concepts, not through long tedious unconnected lists.
When you first start using a mind map, it will probably feel pretty familiar.
Mind-mapping involves the use of “thinking maps” or visual diagrams drawn around a central idea or thought.
This helps with your logical thinking capacity and memory. In other words, using mind maps can go a long way in helping you in your learning process.
It’s no wonder that today, mind mapping has become a go-to technique for learning anything in an efficient and fun way, with tools like Roam Research booming in popularity.
It can be an especially powerful tool when learning languages, whatever your level.
Mind maps were created in 1970 by Tony Buzan to help assist the brain function more effectively. He was influenced by the “Concept Mapping” techniques of Albert Einstein, Novak and Da Vinci.
Whether it is about building your vocabulary, grammar or sentence construction, mind maps can be used extensively in almost every phase of your English learning journey.
Let’s take a look at how this works, and you’ll see just how simple it makes the learning process!
1. Build your Vocabulary
Mind maps help create more organised networks, so it’s easier to manage your vocabulary lists.
It just mimics how you remember vocabulary in your native language - through connections, not through lists, meaning it feels more natural, works more effectively, and is also more interesting to use.
Let’s say, you wanted to find the various synonyms for the word “talk”.
Under the topic of ‘talk’, you can add related categories such as “keep quiet”, “public lecture”, etc.
Further connected keywords and phrases such as “lecturing”, “spill the beans”, and so on could be joined with this network, so that you create a map of related words and phrases.
Mind-mapping means that it’s easier to remember different, related words, through remembering the connections between them.
Traditional ‘vocabulary learning’ involves long lists of unrelated words, with their meaning. No wonder people find it so difficult and boring to try to memorise and remember each one.
However, using mind maps, you can enjoy the process of visualising and creating an entire list of related words, in a very effective manner.
You can even go one step further, and create mind maps for different topics, such as ‘food’, ‘clothing’, ‘colours’, and so on.
Each such topic will have its own related definitions, sample sentences, spellings, notes and useful links.
Depending upon how far you are interested to explore, mind maps can have multiple subcategories which can be updated regularly as you come across new words.
For example, under the term “clothing”, you can have familiar subcategories such as “clothes for summer”, “clothes for winter”, “clothes for the rainy season”, etc.
Further under the subcategory “clothes for summer”, you can add related words such as “clothes for the beach”, “holiday clothes” and so on.
Remember those fun books you used to have as a kid, with the words for each object there for you to learn? It works because you learn related words in context - mind mapping works on a very similar principle.
2. Grammar made Easy
How do you expect to learn and remember new grammar concepts and sentence constructions quickly, and to remember these long-term?
Of course, using mind maps!
For example, your core idea could be “irregular verbs.” From the graphic representation below, you can see that we could have subtopics branching into “verbs ending with ught”, “remain unchanged”, etc.
Of course, you can change this to fit whatever you want.
In this way, complex grammar concepts can be broken down into simple, relatable terms which are convenient to remember, especially with the help of associated images.
3. Makes language learning more engaging and meaningful
Mind maps involve creation, visualisation and organisation of a number of ideas around a central core theme.
Because it is how your brain works in real life, it makes it more likely that you will actually retain information in the medium to long term.
Using related words (synonyms, antonyms, definitions, etc) around a familiar word means that you make those connections, and are more likely to be able to recall words when you need to.
New and complex ideas can be broken down into easily understandable and meaningful words and categories. All this is done in a way that just feels natural, meaning that it’s much more engaging than traditional English learning techniques.
4. Brings creativity into your learning
Don’t you find the process of taking down notes while learning a new language quite boring?
Actually, this technique of note-taking and learning something by heart makes your learning curve longer and mundane.
In short, it takes longer and is less enjoyable.
But, the good news is that the mind mapping technique makes the actual process engaging, and helps develop your creativity.
Brainstorming of ideas, and organising them in a themed manner makes the language learning more relevant and stimulating.
Connected links and topics ensure high amounts of creativity and focus, so it’s easier to stay interested. Remember, losing interest and getting bored is one of the big mistakes that people make when learning English.
Another big advantage of using this technique is that it improves your overall reading skills in a language.
This technique triggers your brain in the form of coloured images and short keywords, rather than long sentences. Due to this, you can grasp the overall concept at a glance and quite effortlessly too.
So, now you know why mind maps are so popular with smart language learners.
Using mind maps will help you learn more effectively, have more fun doing so, and help you improve your English much faster than using traditional note-taking and list-making techniques.
Did you find this information on mind mapping technique useful? If so, I hope you will apply it in making your language learning journey more effective.
About the author
Writer, blogger, and English trainer – That’s me in a nutshell! I am the happiest when I bring a happy change in other people’s lives.
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