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marzo 28, 2016

How you can use mind maps to speak Italian better and better?

Scritto in: The course

If you want to read this article in Italian, go here:

Imagine this scene. You are in a classroom, the teacher is talking and explaining  his subject to you (history, geography, mathematics, whatever). He’s trying to make you understand what he is talking about and you… are doing doodles and scribbles. At least that’s what an external observer can think of what you are doing. Of course, the teacher catches you, and … How does he react? And you, how would you react, seeing me create mind maps?

Mind maps have become part of my learning style. Sometimes I use them more, sometimes less. Obviously, there are times when I can use them and others when I don’t use them because they are not the right tool for that learning situation. And you? Do you use them? And first of all, you know what they are? If you do not, I invite you to take a quick look at this short page in Italian.

Now, assuming that your answer to my last question is yes, you should know that creating mind maps while listening to something, it is a very active way to fully acquire and understand what you’re listening to, even and especially if you are doing that in a foreign language (yes, also in Italian). In fact, by creating mind maps you can take notes about what you’re listening to and, by doing that, you’ll improve your comprehension skills.
And you can go even further, because you can also use mind maps to actively produce language, to speak Italian better and better, or any other language you’re learning now.
During the last months I enjoyed creating different mind maps.
I created some of them live while taking notes at an event called Hospitality rest@rt. And what you can see now are the ones that I created live during that event.

Although some people - who were there at that moment and were watching me! - were surprised, considering them even spectacular, for me they are mere scribbles, but they allowed me to fully understand what the speakers were talking about. Remember that mind maps don’t have to be a masterpiece, you do not have to be an artist to create them… The important thing is that you make them!

Creating mind maps in real-time can be difficult, sometimes I succeed, sometimes I don’t, but if you use the Internet, and watch some video courses, you’ll have an extra advantage because you can pause the video and create your own mind map. The following mind maps are (a couple of) the ones that I have recently created, while attending a course on storytelling (Intro to storytelling Kevin Allison).

It was a very interesting course, which taught me a lot and that I enjoyed mindmapping. Of course, here I had the opportunity to pause the video and to add a few extra touches.

Let’s go deeper now.


You can use them in different ways.

If you’re just starting to learn a language, you can use them to create associations between words, especially between words that are suitable to be categorized. Think for example about the restaurant vocabulary. You can start from the center, drawing (a symbol for) your favorite restaurant and then start the main branches (antipasti, primi piatti, contorni, dolci, for example) and then from each main branch can start its sub-branches.

If you have already reached the intermediate level you’ll have at least three different ways (or even more if you can think of more:-).

1) You can create one while receiving the input, that is, while listening to something new and interesting. This way, you’ll actively commit yourself to understand what you’re listening to, as you are drawing, writing keywords, using colors to turn on your creative side. By doing that, beside being actively involved, you’ll have the opportunity to indirectly acquire the words and expressions used in the audio you are listening to.

2) Once you have created a map, you can talk aloud while watching the map. I did it for my students of Italian in this video, while telling the story of the ugly servant.

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3) If you know well the text or audio you’ve read or heard before or the mental map that you had previosly created, you can talk  aloud, in the language you’re learning at the same time as you’re drawing a new map. This is a quite complex exercise - una piccola grande sfida (a little big challenge) - which helps you be involved with all of your senses, because you’re writing, you’re talking, you are even listening to your voice and you’re seeing what you are creating. I did this in my first experiment here:

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The teacher can yell at you and tell you to stop making your doodles, your mind maps (and this actually happened to me at a training course I attended a couple of years ago).

Or, if he knows that what you are doing will help you absorb even at a deeper level what he wants to teach to you, he can be happy for what you’re doing.

I would be.


P.s.1: Don’t you think it’s time for you to read in Italian? Go here:

P.s.2: If you like this article, share it with those you care about! And if you would like to see me in the video, I am here (the video is in Italian and subtitles in Italian and English are available):

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