Mind maps can be truly universal—with the right mind maps, language barriers fall apart. The images and branches should give people an idea of what the mind map is trying to convey.
Here’s the twist: Language Learning Using Mind Mapping is also a great way of using this tool.
A new language is always learnt by association.
If you were ever in a foreign country, you’ll realize that the words in your vocabulary in the foreign tongue are strongly skewed toward a set of related words—for example, hotel, complaint, no hot water, and $^&#*@!
The mind mapping technique, in fact, has been used with great success in English as a Second Language (ESL) classes around the world, especially in the United States.
How do you harness the power of mind maps to learn a new language, teach a new language, or expand your current vocabulary?
Remember that language learning mind maps are mostly about retention, so the factors that increase retention (colour, strong associations and images) must be emphasized during mind mapping.
One of the ways to do it is to do it by theme.
So, a “restaurant and bar” mind map will branch off into words that you think relate to it. Perhaps your mind map branches will be eating, drinking, and date, with each having several branches of their own.
What you can do is write the word in the new language, along with a picture, if possible, and/or in your native language.
This technique works really well with pictures, so be sure to use as many as you can.
Also use as many colours as possible to group similar words. One of the techniques used by Tony Buzan is colour coding the words in the mind map into those that are the same as, similar to, or completely different from the native language.
Keep learning mind maps in a place where you can look at them often—your refrigerator door, office board, or even in your car.
If you’re creating these mind maps using mind mapping software (a great idea, since it’s much easier to insert relevant pictures in the mind map), use them as your computer’s wallpaper. It’s amazing how much you’ll learn!
In the next installment, we will take a deeper look at how to use Mind Mapping for learning another language.