Concept Maps or Graphic Organisers are a useful way for students to be more actively involved in their learning processes. When presented with a task that involves reading lots of information and formulating a response, graphic organisers are an excellent way to make sense of information. There are lots of different ways that students can graphically represent their ideas, their questions, the connections and relationships between concepts and the main ideas of research.
When faced with a wad of photocopied notes and an assessment task to complete, students should grab a blank piece of paper and some coloured pens and start to digest the information before them.
Start with the main parts of the task – what must you answer?
Write some subheadings.
Go to the information source – first skim read through – look at the sub headings and try to identify the most relevant ideas or information.
Add some dot points or ideas under your subheadings.
Do you need more information?
Do you need to look further to answer anything that is not clear?
Did you discover any connections or relationships in the information?
By using a concept map, the next step of responding to the task will be easier due to the way that we can organise and interpret some rather complex information. Graphic organisers are also a great way to summarise your topic ready for examinations. You can regularly add your ideas as you study the course.
Gay McDonell, EALD Learning Support Teacher