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Thursday, April 22, 2010

MAKING MIND MAPS

Article Collected by AndhraColleges.com - Education is My Passion

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Author : MEGHA GUPTA

HE MAINTAINS THAT COLOURED PENS AND BLANK PAPERS GO A LONG WAY IN HELPING MEMORY.MEGHA GUPTA RECENTLY CAUGHT UP WITH TONY BUZAN,THE INVENTOR OF THE WORLD FAMOUS MIND MAPS THAT HELP UNLOCK MENTAL POTENTIAL
QHow did Mind Maps come into being? 

I think Mind Maps were a product of my desperation! Back in university, despite taking the effort and making notes, I found my marks slipping. The more my notes, the worse became my marks. Then, during revision, while underlining important points, I hit upon the idea of creating memory cards containing key ideas. Over time, I realised that these key points also had a hierarchy. So, I made the more important ones prominent by increasing their size and changing their colour. This idea of organising information in an easy to remember fashion led to the development of Mind Maps.

   Initially the maps were solely for personal purposes, but later they caught on with my friends. I was also coaching children from underprivileged backgrounds and those with learning disabilities and found that they were able to understand and memorise things much better using this technique. Those were the early years and it was in the 1960s that Mind Maps became officially public. 

QHow do Mind Maps aid learning? 

Mind Maps help build on one central idea by using a variety of mediums ranging from colours, images and numbers to logic, rhythm and spatial awareness. Over the years, I've found that everybody is fundamentally arty and even the most linear-thinker often ends up using shading and other such artistic means in creating their Mind Maps and prioritising information. As such, Mind Maps simplify information and help in building upon ideas. As such, they can be applied to every form of learning, from brainstorming, to memorising, note-taking, exam revision and preparing a framework for essays. 

Q Many education systems today involve a high amount of rote learning. According to you, Mind Maps may help them memorise better, but do you think a memory-based learning system is any good? 

Memory and rote learning are two different things. Rote learning is a very linear, repetitive, dull and boring way of trying to put something into your mind. Things that have been learnt through rote learning usually go into the short-term memory and are forgotten almost as soon as their purpose is over. Students who try and rote learn things will usually forget most of the learnt matter almost as soon as the exam is over. Memory on the other hand is a rich, vivid, image-filled network of things that are learnt by establishing links and associations. Hence, things that are memorised stay in the mind for much longer.

   Given this premise, any education system that encourages rote learning is reducing the capacity of the learner. Such a system is not brain-friendly. An ideal education system is one that encourages students to think, create and remember. It teaches them to learn, how to learn.
Q'Learn how to learn', could you elaborate on that phrase? 

There are two ways of educating people. One is to command them to learn all there is to learn and the other is to first teach them how to learn and then let them learn whatever there is to learn. Isn't the second system more ideal? It is bestowing upon students the skill of learning effectively so that they can learn all they have to. However, the first option, that is more commonplace, simply commands students to learn without giving them the requisite skills for effective learning. That's the problem with our education system today. 

QCan you provide some tips for students to learn better? 

I think the first thing for students to do is to inculcate a positive attitude towards studies. Learning is not hard; we make it hard by making it a chore. It's always the same old hard desks, black boards, long notes on huge, lined sheets of paper and the same old black and blue coloured pens. These things are monotonous. They make our mind switch off. As such, simple alterations like using blank papers and differently coloured pens can enhance learning. Also shortening notes by using imagery to portray ideas also eases the burden on our mind.


Source : Times of India
 
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