Can children create mind maps as planning tools for writing?

Cockburn, Elaine (2011) Can children create mind maps as planning tools for writing? PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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This thesis reports an investigation into primary-aged children's ability to learn how to construct mind maps and use these as a tool to support thinking and planning for written tasks. Little research has investigated the kinds of mind map produced by 7-11 year old children, or the impact on an associated written task. It is argued therefore that a closer examination of these claims might shed light on how children learn and use such representations.

An initial exploratory study investigated the ability of children to create mind maps and use them as planning tools for narrative writing. Following this, five experimental studies were conducted exploring how to enhance children's construction and use of mind maps. Two studies were concerned with supporting the construction process independent of a written task and three further studies investigated mind map plans linked to expository writing tasks.

Strategies that improved children's mind map construction were found to be the use of templates, a staged inductive procedure or collaboration using computer software. No overall improvement in children's writing was found when mind maps were used as planning tools, but better structured mind maps were correlated with better written texts. A close examination of items present on mind map plans and included in written tasks revealed that there was more transfer of items from mind maps to texts of better quality. Findings suggest that children can learn and engage with this kind of representation successfully, however the task environment is particularly influential on the types of mind map produced. It is suggested that representations such as mind maps can be usefully introduced into the primary curriculum as an effective planning tool. Mind maps also create a visible record of planning that can provide an opportunity for focused teacher intervention.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Supervisors: Ainsworth, Shaaron
Harrison, C.
Subjects: L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB1101 Child study. Preschool education
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Social Sciences, Law and Education > School of Education
Item ID: 29652
Depositing User: Hatton, Mrs Kirsty
Date Deposited: 25 Aug 2015 07:38
Last Modified: 13 Sep 2016 14:47

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