How to Use Mind Maps to Learn a Foreign Language

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Posted by Allison Lynch |
Mind map is an effective way to learn a foreign language. This article shows how to use mind maps to learn vocabulary, grammar and reading while studying a foreign language.

If you're learning a foreign language, you're learning about grammar, vocabulary, reading, writing and heaven knows what else. And the bottom line about foreign language learning is to get the vocabulary down, one of the biggest challenges if you want to become fluent in a foreign language. Traditional note taking is widely used by learners to this day while learning new words, that is to write down the new vocabulary with their phonetic pronunciation and their translation in his own language next to it. But this kind of notebook is incredibly boring, monotonous and ineffective as all the new words in it are completely at random and difficult to remember. But if we can make "vocabulary networks", things will be different. This is where a tool like Mind Maps comes in use.

Why is Mind-maps a Better Way

A "Mind Map" is a diagram which contains a central thought and related ideas that radiate from it as branches. Learners can use “Mind Maps” to brainstorm and learn vocabulary. You can easily create a theme word in the centre of the page and add new words thematically fit. Pictures, colors, symbols and dimension is highly recommended in "Mind Maps". Online mind mapping software such as Edraw helps learners to organize and recall items of vocabulary and consequently maximize the learner’s autonomy.

Mind Maps in Memorizing Grammar Rules

How to form correct and coherent sentences after learning vocabulary is another challenge. We have to memorize all the grammar rules of a foreign language, which can be tough. Take English grammar as an example, it is full of as many exceptions as there are rules. What points of grammar are you having trouble learning? For most of learners, the tense causes no end of confusion. For example, we often use the past continuous and the past simple tense together. It is necessary to know their differences. Generally, the past continuous states a longer, background action or situation and the past simple describes the action or events. If you put rules and examples into a mind map, you will find that it is quite easy to understand. Mind Map can help you to learn visually with the clear overview and structure. A picture does paint a thousand words.

Tense Comparison Mindmap

The most effective study way is to test in practice. Then how can you miss this wondering functionality of MindMaps. It can hide all subtopics of this topic so that you can see if you can already recount them from memory. To do this, simply select the topic then click the floating button beside it. You can view all the branches just by clicking it once more time.

Mind Maps in Improving Reading Comprehension

One of the best ways to improve reading comprehension is taking notes while reading. In comparison to traditional note-taking, mind maps enable quick organization of ideas and information. A mind map can help you to capture complex topics more clearly and find connections between individual pieces of information, bringing some order to the chaos that’s our brain.

Here's a example of a reading comprehension mind map.

Mindmap Reading

Mind Maps in Creating Vocabulary Networks

There are many ways to learn vocabulary. But if you want to learn vocabulary quickly, easily, and permanently, then mind map will be the tool to help you. You will reinforce the new words by writing them under the appropriate category on the whiteboard.

Take the word “traffic” as an example.This example has been created with a program called Edraw.

use mind map to learn vocabulary

How do you map your own "vocabulary networks" in mind map? you start by:

  • Opening the program and clicking "New".
  • Clicking Mind Map on start page in Template Categories list.
  • Double clicking Mind Map icon to open a blank drawing page.
  • Dragging a Main Idea shape onto the drawing page.

After above operations, double-click on Main Idea shape and you can type the theme word. You can click the floating button to add topic or subtopic. In your "traffic" map, you could start by adding subtopics for the related words, such as "vehicle", "route", "road" and so on. Enrich your map with vocabulary. Mind-maps are even more effective if you add little drawings and lots of color.

This is how mind maps can help you learn a foreign language effectively. Try it out if you haven’t before and start mapping.

Create mind maps with various themes and lots of built-in clip arts! Try it FREE.

More Mind Map Resources

How to Use Mind Map For Teaching

Mind Map Examples for Different Topics

Visual Learning Strategies

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Free Download Popular Mind Map Software

MindMaster is a versatile, user-friendly, and professional mind mapping tool. Available on multiple platforms, including PC, tablet, mobile, and web.
you can create mind maps and access them from each platform.