Mind mapping is a very common approach in various industries to externalise and visualise the difficult concepts in its simplest form. This innovative thinking tool is one of the best methods followed so far to connect easily between ideas and relations. By considering its success rates, the strategy is widely being adopted in the teaching and learning areas. Many of the studies have reported a positive learning experience when mind mapping is made part of the study life.

Here let us have a look at what exactly is a mind map and how students can make use of them in their learning phase.

What Is A Mind Map?

This innovative tool is a great option when it comes to understanding and absorbing data in the optimal form. This pictorial representation of information gives an overview of complex data or a topic in the first look itself. This map usually starts off with a central idea and then gets surrounded by associated branches of related topics. The central idea can be represented using a word or image which is then extended outwards to sub topics or ideas. The topics and branches with different ideas can be represented using different colors for easy understanding. When used in the right way, it improves independent learning and critical thinking. This is an absolute time saving strategy during several phases of your study life.

To learn more about how students can better use the mind maps and how it makes a remarkable difference in their learning progress, take a look at the key points.

  1. Take notes better: The mind map strategy helps students to take notes in a better form. This aids them to revise the lessons during exam times with minimal effort. Remembering a lot of facts and figures covered in the syllabus would be really tough for the students. Mind map allows organizing this information in a better to understand form. They can do it by using keywords and then visually connecting the ideas and facts. Having all important topics in a single sheet of paper makes it easy for students to go back to the lessons easily and review them.
  1. Project planning: This area of study requires good organization of both thoughts and time. A good mind map makes the job easy for you and you can complete each phase of your project step by step in a well structured way. The talking points to be covered in the project can be presented in a very interactive way using this visualization tool. Moreover, it can act as a simplified content management system that helps you to access necessary information from a centralized location.
  1. Problem solving: Seeing things clearly is the key to analyze it on a better way. Instead of stressing your head to find a solution, take it on a lighter note using a mind map. This is the right way to watch out the many options and possibilities that can be used effectively to solve the puzzle or problem. During the process of problem solving, you can keep on refining the map by taking into account the incoming thoughts to draw out a realistic or the most practical solution. Moreover, this lets the students to look at the problems from a different angle and work it out better.
  1. Exam study plans: Exams are one of the toughest phases for most of the students. Remembering piles of notes can be a scary dream. However, the mind map strategy can be used to visually represent only the main topics in simple forms. You can also form small mind maps for each topic separately. You can cover more lessons easily in this approach and have an idea about the lessons covered so far. You just need to glance through the main mind map before the exam and fill up the rest from the memory. The mental triggers of this tool let the brain to memorize the stuff in a more effective manner.
  1. Brainstorm ideas easily: This amazing tool lets you brainstorm your ideas or thoughts in an organic manner without bothering about structure and order. When the ideas are structured visually, it is really easy for student to make the analysis and recall. A student brain can easily pick up organized diagrams than a bulk or pile of data. This powerful tool lets you do a creative work out of your brain and think more progressively by gearing up an imaginative mindset. This is in fact a free thinking strategy in which students can visualize the ideas from a deeper level.
  1. Connect ideas efficiently: Making a good connection between the ideas learnt throughout different lessons or sessions is important to have an upper hand over the subject. This is really important when it comes to memorizing the lesson segments during exams. The mind map helps you to make central concept and build an intuitive framework around it. When information gathering and applying facts is possible in its simplest form, connecting ideas becomes really easy than you think. The radiant structure of the mind maps can correspond well to the way the brain process information.
  1. Assess situations better: When it comes to complex situations in the lessons, this radical tool helps you to assess the data points better and move on pretty easily. Let it be any confusing situation of any subject area, taking out a few minutes to draw out a mind map with relevant facts and figures helps you to reach the conclusion really quickly. In fact both sides of your brain can be used effectively that helps you to think out of the box. This means that students can easily collaborate with the logic and analytics as well as the creative and imaginative part.
  2. Present ideas clearly: It is common for students to make a mess on the presentations. Mind map is also a good solution to present ideas more clearly and convey the message in the simplest form to the audience. Piles of notes on the screen can be tough when handling an audience and so use keywords and images to connect them. You can even number your points and give an idea about the quantity of topic to be covered to the audience. Mind map helps to frame the presentation in a more conversational way and make a good interactive session by making eye contact with the audience.
  1. Group study plans: Studying in groups can be really effective during exam times. Sitting alone and studying can be stressful especially during exams and group study can be more fun while you teach and learn from others. Mind maps can make the sessions more productive and interesting. Each one of you can create your mind maps during self study time and share it with others during group study. You can then form a new mind map by including the ideas and collective thoughts.
  1. Creative inspiration: This is one of the great ways to turn creative. Whether it is planning an essay, painting a picture or writing a story, the tough part is to get a good start. The working of mind map is more or less similar to a brain. So just start off with a word or image you think off in your mind by drawing it out. To the surprise, it can spark off numerous connecting ideas and turn your thought into an amazing art work. As thoughts flow freely, stepping out with novel and creative ideas seems really fun and easy. The tool lets you see the bigger picture of a concept or idea from a wider perspective that makes the job easy.
  1. Improved decision making: When it comes to deciding on some important areas of your school life, it could be tough when a number of concerns and possibilities are running at the back of your mind. Use the mind map and just draw off the possible pros and cons as well as your concerns or doubts when thinking about particular decision. You can clear it off one by one and strike it off when you have done with it. In this way, you can make decisions that are error free and that goes by all considerations.

There are different types of mind mapping tools designed by enthusiasts to help out students in the job that automates the process. You may choose from mind maps that can be used offline, online mind maps or mind map software.

Many of the reports have pointed out that the mind map approach can assist in their cognitive learning theory as well as enhance their reading comprehension.

Moreover, they can benefit from improved thinking and learning skills when the tool is used effectively. One of the main problems faced by students is to memorize what they have learnt. And interestingly, the mind map strategy is proving good to increase the retention rates.

Math is one of the most troublesome subjects for most of the students. However, the minority who likes math finds it really easy and interesting than any other subject. It is the love for the subject that made them win over it. The way teachers handle the subject is also important when it comes to the end result. There should be some wise strategies applied when handling such subjects. And it is very important to encourage or incorporate growth mindset messages into math class than treating it with a fixed mindset strategy. In fact, changing a student’s math mindset itself can help them to boost their subject performance.
Here are a few among the many important ways teachers can nurture a growth mindset among students while teaching mathematics:

1. Problems with errors: Engaging them with a set of worked out problems that have output errors or step wise errors are a good strategy. This gives them a chance to think out of the box to find out what went wrong and they would come up with better solutions. Giving them such chances to think critically would foster a growth mindset when approaching the subject.

2. Solve problems independently: In most of the math classes, teachers are demonstrating the way of solving a problem at first and ask them to solve a similar problem with different variables. This gives them minimal chances for thinking more about the problem solving as they just replicate what you demonstrated at first. Change your approach to the subject and give them chances to solve the problems independently and then correct their mistakes if any.

3. Re-frame mode of assessment: Changing the mode of assessment can help lot in boosting the growth mindset in math class. Assessment should not always be targeting on the final grades they achieve. The students should be credited if they make an attempt to revisit the problems they went wrong and reworks it to reach the solution. Growth over a period of time is important when it comes to subjects such as math rather than getting a good grade once.

4. Productive feedback: Human brains are programmed to pay more attention to the negative signals. So it is important to give them feedback in the most positive way to help the students to get a growth mindset. A productive feedback with constructive criticism can play the trick rather than pointing out their mistakes in an unfriendly way that causes them to fear the subject.

5. Prepare every student: When we talk about growth mindset, the main target is on students who are performing weak. In fact, equal importance should be given on students who excel now also. This is important to help them perform better every time than living with a mindset that they are masters of the subject. Give them chances to struggle with the subject with some difficult problems and let them face failures once in a while. This works better than facing a failure all of a sudden in a higher class that kills their confidence.

6. Value the learning process: Teachers should convey the message very clearly to the students that grades and ranks are not just the mere motive behind learning. Or else the self perceptions of aptitude injects them a fixed mindset. So it is important to make them understand that the learning process should be valued more than the success achieved temporarily. Prioritizing the learning process over grades boosts their growth mindset.

7. Explore with open problems: Teachers should make an extra effort to give them a chance to explore with open problems. This helps students to understand concepts better and they relate similar problems very fast. In this approach, teacher can first give a simple problem and expand it step by step once they find solutions for each segment. This method helps them to explore the subject with their personal steps rather than looking blindly at an algorithm.

8. Thinking mathematically: Nurture a mindset in them to think mathematically when approaching a problem. You should welcome their questions even when it makes sense or not. Let them visualize the problem or generalize, justify and prove that their approach is right. Develop a curious mindset in them right from their junior classes and help them to be resourceful enough to approach even the weird problems without thinking twice.

9.Multiple entry points: It is important to set multiple entry points for students to treat the subject rather than giving them a fixed guideline. Let them solve problems in their favorite approach with mathematical reasoning. Give them chances to express their understanding and learning through multiple means or conclude their understanding with a varied strategy.

10. Ability grouping: The ability grouping approach by teachers are based on their thoughts about what a student can achieve or not. The idea of weak student groups and intelligent student groups in fact set a fixed mindset in students about their position in the group. The works for the weak groups are mostly easy and demands only less application of brain. This approach actually snatches their chance to perform better and think better with an extra effort. Ability grouping is never a good idea to promote a growth mindset.

11. Stress free classroom: A classroom which is low in stress itself gives them a peace of mind in approaching the subject. Give them ample time to solve a problem in the first time rather than forcing them to solve the problem in the fixed time frame which gives them an unwanted stress. A fixed time frame may block their thinking mindset and they might feel stressed and loss in problems. It is important to talk with them and find out a success plan in their failures rather than pushing them to perform better and stressing them.

12. No fear about mistakes: When approaching a subject like math, it is important to set a mindset that has no fear for mistakes. Or else they would step back without giving it try thinking about the failure. Making them understand that mistakes are stepping stones to success helps them to approach the problems in a confident manner.

13. Set achievable micro-goals: It is good to help them target small achievable goals rather than asking them to push hard for unrealistic targets. This in fact helps them to make an incremental and consistent progress in their approach to the subject. This is actually a psychological approach because repeated small wins continuously gives them a boost in the confidence and they slowly develops a growth mindset.

14. Praise student’s efforts: It is not advisable to praise the intelligence part of a student in their success. Teachers should actually praise their effort on the way to their success. If intelligence is praised over effort, students would lack self motivation in case of a failure in future and they easily get depressed causing repeated failures. But if their effort is praised instead, they would continue to make efforts despite the success or failure.

15. Change view about math brain: It is a common thinking that students who perform better in math are born with a math brain. In fact, it is just an illusion and there is no such brain according to research. Developing a growth mindset during the smaller classes is the key to approach the subject easily with a ‘math brain’. Hard work and determination will always be paid and there is nothing that blocks you to perform better.

16. Promote cooperative learning: According to many researches, studying in groups promotes a growth mindset than individualistic or competitive approach. So promote peer groups in class which gives them a chance to teach and learn from their peers and enjoy the process of learning. When a student performs in groups, it gives them an extra responsibility of performing for the group’s success and this in fact enhances a growth mindset in them.

17. Build up confidence: Making an effort to build up their confidence is just as important as teaching them the different strategies in the subject. A boosted confidence would always be an effective tool for a student rather than knowing some math techniques. This promotes a growth mindset in them and helps them to think on their own in solving the problems even if they are new to the technique.
A fixed mindset when learning math in fact degrades a student’s capability to think out of the box. When teacher gives focus and importance in integrating growth mindset messages while learning math, it actually opens them a world of possibilities and gives a chance to discover and explore their hidden talents. A growth mindset approach can really make a difference in the way they excel in their learning. This teaching technique helps them to think out of the box on many instances and this improves their critical thinking and logical reasoning capability.