Mind Maps – How To Use Mind Maps To Teach Difficult Grammar Points

If you are a language teacher, you probably already use mind maps to help your students learn vocabulary. These mind maps are sometimes called “vocabulary webs” or “word maps.” A popular use of such mind maps is to organize groups of vocabulary, for example, your central topic is “food” and your subtopics are “meat”, “fruit”, “vegetables”, etc. Another way could be to associate the various nouns, adjectives and verbs with your central topic, for example, television, program, movie, turn on, watch, interesting, boring…

But have you considered using mind maps to teach grammar points? Anyone with a TEFL qualification will be familiar with the use of concept questions to help students understand a complicated element of English grammar. For example, when giving advice, an English speaker invariably uses the modal verbs should or ought to. It is likely that there are no equivalent verbs in your students’ language, so you would ask concept questions to check their understanding:

you should see a doctor

  • Is it an obligation to go to the doctor? – not

  • Is it a good idea to see a doctor? -Yeah

By answering these two questions, the student has a good idea of ​​when to use should. But putting these questions on a mind map will help your student visualize the concepts and retain them for future use. In my classes, I write two questions next to each other and circle them. The questions are, “Is it necessary?” and “Is it allowed?” Then I start to make my mental map by writing the only two possible answers, yes or no? Then I try to get the modal verbs, must, mustn’t, have to, don’t have to, can, can’t, depending on the answer, and write them in the appropriate place on the mind map.

Perhaps my explanations here are not very clear. That is exactly why mind maps are a better way to help your students visualize concepts. You can try to explain until you’re blue in the face, but a simple diagram does the trick quickly and effectively. You can see an example of a mind map I created on my site. Truly, a picture is worth a thousand words!

Think about what points of grammar you have trouble teaching and start developing conceptual questions that you can put on a mind map. For my French students, the present perfect causes a lot of confusion, because they use the same construction to talk about completed past actions: I went to the movies yesterday. What concept questions do you think might help them see the difference between “I was” and “I have been”? It’s up to you to use your imagination!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *