Today I would like to share the most successful teaching tip I have used so far. My colleague Olga Sergeeva wrote an amazing post about mind-mapping, and I have been using her ideas for several months, particularly when the aim of the lesson is to encourage students to use key expressions (for instance, for business communication skills or functional language).
My today’s lesson with Intermediates was devoted to using key expressions related to reporting back.
Students were supposed to listen to 2 conversations (guided discovery). After taking notes they were supposed to fill in the gaps with useful expressions (controlled practice). Upon completion of the task they started creating a mind-map. Firstly, I elicited possible categories for the mind-map. Secondly, they added phrases from the transcript to categories. When mind-maps were ready, I asked students to cover them with a sheet of paper and to memorize as many phrases as possible. (according to Olga, some students can only memorize 1/3 of all the expressions). Afterwards I was pretty sure that students could try to recreate the initial conversations just looking at the mind-map they had created.
I remember my first lesson when I used this idea. Honestly, I was afraid that the task would be a failure. But there were many attempts to improve the task and to give clearer instructions to students. After recreating conversations students were ready to personalized and freer practice stages of the lesson. Feedback from students was positive and inspiring.
I should admit it is now one of my favourite ways of drilling key expressions.
And this is the mind-map students created today.
Olya, thank you so much for your contribution!
Have you ever used mind-maps in your classroom? Please, share in comments.
Thanks for reading!