Elementary Teachers' Views on Mind Mapping

By Keles, Özgül | International Journal of Education, January 1, 2012 | Go to article overview

Elementary Teachers' Views on Mind Mapping


Keles, Özgül, International Journal of Education


Abstract

The purpose of this study was investigating elementary teachers' views on mind mapping by using interviews. In this line, the study group of the research was composed of 24 elementary teachers experience periods in their job between two and 21 who were enrolled in a "Teaching Thinking Science Consulting Course". In the implementation phase of the study, the teachers were primarily instructed about the application of the mind mapping technique. In the interviews open-ended six questions were asked to teachers about mind mapping and the use of this technique in the classroom. Interviews were analyzed using qualitative research methods. Results showed that using mind mappings in instruction helps teachers improve their instruction, planning and evaluating lessons and makes the lecture more entertaining. The technique can be suggested to extend by analyzing its relation with different variables like different lessons and participants.

Keywords: Elementary Teachers' Views, Mind mapping, Turkey

1. Introduction

Elementary level science and technology program was developed based on constructivist approach. For students to achieve the objectives set by the program, student-centered teaching methods and techniques should be employed. Because of this teachers utilize various instructional strategies to be effective in assisting students' learning. One of the visual techniques that are used with the stated objectives is mind mapping. According to Zhao (2003) teachers can understand if students understood the subject and if they could construct an appropriate structure for the new information by examining their mind maps. Mind mapping is a note-taking, organizational technique, which allows individuals to "organize facts and thoughts" (Buzan, 2002) in a map format containing a "central image, main themes radiating from the central image, branches with key images and key words, plus branches forming a connected nodal structure" (Buzan, 1993). In addition, the mind map helps students to assimilate new information, to think and to develop their conceptual schema. Mind mapping is a technique which enhances creativity and promotes individuals' learning (Mento, Martinelli & Jones, 1999). They assure individuals to recall knowledge and to show the relations between different thoughts and concepts (Evrekli, Balim & Inel, 2009; Buzan, 2005). During teaching and learning, a mind map also helps teachers to explain why they are focusing on a particular aspect of a topic. From the mind maps that students make, teachers may learn whether their students understand the topic and whether the student is able to organize and construct a suitable structure for that knowledge (Zhao, 2003).

Recent years, studies of mind mapping have been conducted with various age groups in the literature. Positive and negative effects have been encountered. Evrekli et al. (2009) found that according to science teacher candidates, mind mapping can be used in constructive science and technology effectively. To Farrand, Hussain, and Hennessy (2002) "Mind maps provide an effective study technique when applied to written material". Taliaferro (1998) determined that students enjoyed the mind-mapping exercise. Negative results of the study were students' level of cognitive development. Students were not able to "think abstractly". Goodnough and Woods (2002) performed a qualitative, interpretive case study on two fifth-grade classes and two sixth-grade classes. There were many effects of this study. Students' perceptions of mind mapping were "fun, interesting, and a motivating approach to learning". In addition, students preferred to use mind mapping in an individual situation rather than a group situation because they could express their own ideas for their own meaning. Williams (1999) stated that mind mapping provided students with an opportunity to improve their learning. According to this study, the mind-mapping technique, as confirmed by other studies, "is helpful as a study aid and helps learners understand and recall information better". …

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