Mind mapping



         One of the most frequent reasons behind misbehaviour is confusion. Some of the slower learners get left behind in the rush to input content. Then boredom sets in and they find other most 'interesting' things to do like looking out of the window, imagining themselves a long distance away or distracting classmates.   If lack of clarity is the cause of this misconduct then teachers have to recognise their mismanagement and correct it. The question then is : how can we maintain clarity so as to retain attention?


         Mind maps

         Visual cues to underscore your oral explanations are an insightful answer to this problem. Mind maps, in particular, allow teachers to build up visual overviews of classroom content while they are speaking about it. The final view clearly defines not only the information but also its interrelationship: how one idea is connected to another. Use of colour and internal images in the map also help pupils memorise the information. In the more usual linear displays of subject matter the connections are not immediately apparent, there is no colour and the presentations are not visually attractive. Compare the same content about 'Attention' in mind map and traditional formats to see which outlay is more  immediately intelligible:

A. Linear format:


1 A new species

1.1 Non-verbal communication

1.2 Power of (non-verbal) Influence

1.2.1 Management is preventive discipline Discipline has consequences!

1.3 Goal

1.3.1 A Healthy Group everyone is accepted safe individuals are held accountable discipline

1.4 Reference: Are women better Multi-taskers than men?


2 Centring

2.1 V(isual)

2.2 A(uditory)

2.3 K(inaesthetic)

2.4 B(reathing)

2.5 Overview

3 Focusing

3.1 Example

3.1.1 Strategy whispering

3.2 Learning

3.2.1 Learning to learn

3.2.2 Calibrating learning styles

3.2.3 What's your learning style?

3.3 Refinements

3.4 References

3.4.1 De Bono, E., Six Thinking hats

3.4.2 Grinder M., Envoy

3.4.3 Grinder M., The Elusive Obvious.


B. Mind map format:

The Origins story

Tony Buzan was going into his second year as an undergraduate at Oxford university. His first year hadn't gone too well, academically, and he was casting around for ways of improving his grades. The problem was that he felt overwhelmed by the quantity of information he was receiving and recognised the need to organise it if he was going to pass the finals. He asked in the university's Bodleian library if there were books on how the brain coped with organising information. The librarian directed him to the neurology section. However he was not interested in the brain itself, but how it worked. He was convinced that he needed to do some research on the matter himself.

He decided to investigate among his own classmates to find out who self-organised best to get top marks. His conclusion was that those who were best able to pass exams arranged the content they received in class by noting it down in key words.

Around the same time Buzan read about a memory experiment in a copy of the publication 'Scientific American'. The researchers had set out to text visual memory and showed subjects 2,560 photos then later 2,560 more which they were asked to identify as having already viewed or not. The unexpected result was that the successful recognition rate was above 85%.This led the researchers to conclude that the human brain has a high visual memory.

Buzan put the key words concept together with a visual graphic to form what he called a mind map. Based on his investigations he claims that it is a very brain friendly presentation, enabling an immediate grasp of highly memorable content. Just what is needed by students.

The Mind Map Book by Tony Buzan



         Brain friendly

         The linear approach to presenting information is so prevalent that if you consult the synonym for “information” the common answer is “in order”, “in rank” or “in a row”. It would seem that we expect news to be presented “in formation”, like marshalling an army of recruits. The problem with this linear approach is that it is not the way our minds work.

         The neurologist Antonio Damasio (Self Comes to Mind. USA: Pantheon Books (2010)) argues that the brain's structure, if sliced in slivers and put under a microscope, has the aspect of a two dimensional grid and looks just like the plan of Manhattan. Briefly put, the brain maps the world around it and its own doings. In fact if we create an in depth view of the brain itself it looks very much like a 3D mind map. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FZ3401XVYww&feature=youtu.be)

Our brains work like websites:  groups of pages, ideas or concepts are linked together, or even branch off on their own into other groupings or webs. Learning combines what you already know with what you want to know and links this new information within our store of knowledge. Our memories then process these new "links" and associations for later recall. This makes mind mapping a much more brain friendly way of sorting out information than processing it sequentially. In fact Buzan claims that the associative manner in which a mind map presents the structure of ideas is representative of how ideas are actually stored in the brain.

         Mind maps are especially brain friendly in the way that they encourage use of what is termed the right brain which processes input in a more holistic manner than the linear left hemisphere. By helping you understand the overall structure of the information being learned you see the big picture, you notice how the various ideas relate to each other. On listening to, reading or reviewing information these connections may link the material to other ideas you have which were not presented by the author or lecturer, thus giving you a new insight into the subject.