Semantic Maps

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Studieshave shown that the quality of classroom instruction is veryimportant to the learning of the student it should involveinteractions among the student themselves and the instructor too.There are various methods or practices that teachers take tofacilitate learning in the classroom. According to Tom Drummond(1995), these practices should focus classroom teachings that areopen oneself and others too. Notably, he asserts that these practicesdiffer in goal and content, they should apply across the board ofadult teaching environments. This paper seeks to evaluate some of theteaching practices I have carried out with my students and how thepractices help or deter them from getting the most out of the lessonsI have offered. I have chosen to enumerate them in no particularorder or importance as they seek to serve different goals.


Thisis one of the most effective ways of presenting new information tothe students. As it may, sometimes new information must be passed onorally and assimilated by the learner. However, studies show thatafter 10-20 minutes, concentration reduces rapidly and any otherinformation passed afterward has many chances of not being recorded.To enhance the concentration, I apply rhetoric questions to thestudents, immediate master quiz in the last few minutes of thelecture and storytelling. With stories, the learners seek to be alivein the story and thus their attention is captured throughout theentire lecture.


Tobreak the monotony of lectures, I involve the learners to discusscomplex topics among their peers. This helps them to be aware andhave an enhanced grasp of the topic in discussion. For the success ofthe group discussion, the learners must have a connection with eachother and the content of discussion such that at the end of theexercise, they have a concrete example that they can connect witheach other (Drummond, 2016). The most common group work sessioninvolve

• Roleplaying

• Casestudies

• Visualstudies involving videos, images, photography

• Shortreadings

Thedownfall of the group discussion is that not all learners can work ingroups, some find it challenging to work as a team and this mayhinder their participation and eventually what they take out from thediscussion.

Rewardinglearner participation

Thisis one of the tried and tested methods of making the learners striveto better their best. It involves a well timed positive remark whenthe learner is on the positive track. The method chosen to send thispositive message will lead the learner to know exactly what isimportant to achieve. The only downside to this approach is that thelearner may be too eager to get the teachers approval rather thanfocus on what is to be grasped.

• Usingsignals and body languages like smiling broadly, thumbs up and movingto convey excitement.

• Talkabout your own thoughts regarding the matter in discussion. Forinstance, you could chip in like, ‘questions like that took almosta month to figure out, good job!’

• Avoidpraise because this is more geared towards approval seeking ratherlearning

•Describeyour personal feelings like, ‘what a joy to listen to yourconclusive views here today!’


Suchquestions interjected at the beginning or end of the lesson fosterconfidence and engagement. They help the learners to think criticallyand grasp any part that is connected to the formally asked questions.The questions guide the learners on the points to concentrate on. Asuccess in answering a question for a learner is an indicative thathe or she knows how to think and vice versa for a failed answer. Suchquestions should be considered

• Whathappened? What did you see…What is the difference between…?

• Whatis the purpose..?

• Whatwill happen next…?

• Whatdoes…mean?


Alber(2016) asserts that to know whether learners are moving forward ornot, there has to be a steady flow of feedback whether written orverbal. The teacher needs to follow this up keenly to assess areas ofgrowth of the class or its needs. The students should also be giventhe opportunity to give their teachers feedback in order for them tomake necessary adjustments in the learning process and materials.

Otherthan these practices, there is a unique learning method whichinvolves the use of semantic mapping.


Thisis the use of graphic organizers to visually display the connectionbetween words and concepts. The low-level semantic mapping is used byteachers to teach new vocabulary that the learners come across intheir scripts. It is majorly used to expound on the main points of aconcept or a process. This level of learning is very efficient inachieving the teachers’ goals as the learners are able to makephotographic memories of these visuals. However, there are differenttypes and formats of semantic chats. Some of them include KWL charts,T-Charts, Venn diagrams, web diagrams, and timelines among others.Below are illustrations of the different types of semantic maps andhow they are used.

1.KWL charts

Theyare graphic organizers that help the students arrange the informationacquired before, during and after a lesson. It could be a new topicor be used to monitor the learning process. (Teaching Strategy: K-W-LCharts | Facing History, 2016)

Name……………………………………………..Date …………………………..


Beforebeginning your research, list details in the first two columns. Fillin the last column after completing your research.

Topic _

What I know

What I want to know

What I learned

  1. Web diagrams (Concept maps)

Theyare spatial representations of concepts which require the learner tostore the information in the minds. They represent a model and thecorrelations that exist between its components. (Birbilli, 2016)

  1. Venn Diagrams

Theyare circles or closed curves used to show mathematical relationshipsor logical connections, similarities and differences between a numberof elements or objects. (Higherorder thinking with Venn diagrams, 2016)

A Venn diagram of fish and whales

  1. T-chart

At-chart or graphical representation in the form of a T and examinestwo facets of a subject or topic. The two facets could be the meritsand demerits, pros and cons, facts or opinions, advantages ordisadvantages. For example

Name…………………………………………. date……………………………….




  1. Timeline diagrams

Theyare used to present graphical information over a period of time or tocapture the occurrence of events. For instance, a start up may wishto represent their plan of action over, say, a year. Here is how theinformation can be presented.


Graphicalorganizers are easy to understand and present to the learners. Theyboost the learning process and make the learners capture almost twiceof what they are capable of doing. They have several advantages like

  1. Learners can understand the important information without reading too much

  2. They enable the learner to identify the main concepts

  3. They sort the relevant from the non-relevant information

  4. They enable the student to think in a logical manner

  5. From the graphical information, the learners can understand abstract information not presented.

  6. Students learn to sequence and organize data through the semantic maps

  7. By looking at the information presented, the learners can put and assign particular labels to some concepts.

Inconclusion, it is upon the teacher to decide which graphicalorganizer to use in order to achieve the desired results. However, itis important to note that in order for the semantic maps to workproperly, there has to adequate instruction by the teacher,participation and practice by the student and timely feedback fromthe teacher. Failure to have these three elements will cause anegative effect on the proposed use of the semantic maps.


Higherorder thinking with Venn diagrams.(2016). 28 March 2016,


Drummond,T. (2016). ABrief Summary of the Best Practices in College Teaching | TheCenter for Teaching and Learning | UNC 28 March 2016, from

Heimlich,J., &amp Pittelman, S. (1986). Semanticmapping.Newark, Del.: International Reading Association.

TeachingStrategy: K-W-L Charts – Assessing What We Know/What We Still Want toLearn |

FacingHistory.(2016). 28 March 2016, from