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Mind Mapping Usage in Vocabulary Teaching


Saudi Arabian educators are considering employing the mind mapping technique in teaching vocabulary in all secondary schools. To determine the viability of the mind mapping technique, it is necessary to carry out a quantitative research that will determine the technique’s ability to influence the level of acquiring vocabulary. The educators will need a decisive research report, thus, the researcher will employ a quantitative research approach to come up with the required report.

The entire research will aim at testing the ability of the mind mapping technique to influence vocabulary acquisition on female students aged between 16 and 18 years. Primary and secondary data will be useful in obtaining the required data, and questionnaires will be the main data collection instruments. Essentially, reports on the performance of the respondents before and after employing the mind mapping teaching technique will provide secondary data while the duly filled questionnaires will give the primary data. Thereafter, the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) will be necessary in analyzing the study results.


The methods that teachers employ in educating students determine the level of understanding. The procedures and techniques used in teaching will determine the students’ ability to master vocabulary knowledge, and the ability to apply the vocabularies in sentences (Dick & Carey, 2006). Essentially, students who lack a stock of words will have difficulties in understanding oral language. Moreover, such students will find it difficult to comprehend written language, as they tend to forget the vocabularies that they learn with time. The high level of forgetfulness amongst high school students in Saudi Arabia is questionable, and educators are considering adopting the mind mapping technique.

The technique might have a significant effect in enabling students to remember vocabularies and other teachings in class. Schools that have employed the technique are praising it because of its positive outcome in influencing the vocabulary acquisition levels. Essentially, mind mapping involves the use of imagery, color, visual arrangement, and graphical infrastructure. The entire process helps in creating impressions that enhance the level of memorization (Tonzar, Lotto, & Job, 2009). Mind mapping is superior to the conventional note taking method of teaching.

While the conventional methods will obligate the students to learn by rote, mind mapping encourages the learners to involve the whole brain, and learn via practical examples (Schmitt, 2000). The technique allows learners to relate ideas to other concepts of the same category. Mind mapping obtains its supremacy from the graphic techniques that plays a great role in unlocking the brain and increasing its ability to think critically (Whitehouse, Maybery, & Durkin, 2006). The technique enhances the functionality of the brain, and the learners can relate new words to symbols, pictures, and emotions to conceptualize their meaning.

Statement of the problem

Vocabulary knowledge is very crucial, as vocabulary is a fundamental component of every language. However, most Saudi Arabian schools had overlooked vocabulary as a language component for a long period. With little or no attention given to vocabulary, secondary school students in Saudi Arabia have had poor performances in grammar. They have difficulties in conveying their messages, and from one time to another, they make lexical errors.

Native Arabians have difficulties in acquiring a second language, as they have a tendency of making vocabulary errors that cause communication misunderstanding (Chen & Leung, 2000). In most secondary schools, students are unable to make oral comprehensions, and similarly, they have difficulties in expressing their ideas in written form. Essentially, if a student cannot differentiate the meaning of various vocabularies in a sentence, it would be difficult to communicate with other people, and have a clear understanding of the conversation. The entire scenario is very controversial, as Saudi Arabia is producing incompetent secondary school graduates.

Significance of the study

As indicated in the problem statement, Saudi Arabian educators have overlooked the vocabulary component of learning, and thus, secondary schools end up producing incompetent graduates. Taking time to understand the workability of the mind mapping technique to teach vocabulary is a great achievement that will have visible results (Nation, 2004). The educators will have a tangible prove to present to the ministry of education, and they will have the pleasure of employing a verified and efficient learning technique.

The students who could not fit in international colleges because of their poor vocabulary and grammar levels will have adequate competency skills after learning vocabulary using the mind mapping technique (Khoii & Sharififar, 2013). The study will act a wakeup call to address the controversial issue. Educators will review their education system and improvise the mind mapping technique that may help greatly in teaching vocabulary in secondary schools.

Aims of the study

This study aims at bringing a clear understanding of the mind mapping technique that might prove to be highly useful in teaching vocabulary. The specific aims of the study are as outlined below.

  1. To establish the suitability of the mind mapping technique in teaching vocabulary in secondary schools in Saudi Arabia;
  2. To determine the best mind mapping approaches that can produce the best results in teaching vocabulary;
  3. To determine the ability of the students to adopt the mind mapping technique in learning vocabulary and other subjects;
  4. To determine the perception that the educators have about the mind mapping techniques to teach vocabulary in secondary schools;
  5. To evaluate the ability of female students aged between 16 and 18 to grasp vocabulary, and determine if it would be wise to introduce the mind mapping techniques in elementary classes.

Research questions

To achieve the specific aims of the study, it will be necessary to have articulate research questions. The researcher will develop answers to the following research questions after making a critical analysis of the study data.

  1. To what extend is the mind mapping technique suitable in teaching vocabulary in Saudi Arabia’s secondary schools?
  2. What are the best mind mapping approaches that can produce superlative vocabulary results?
  3. Do students have difficulties in adopting the mind mapping techniques in learning vocabulary and other subjects?
  4. How do secondary schools educators perceive the mind mapping approaches to teach vocabulary?
  5. Is it helpful to introduce the mind mapping technique to students at elementary levels?


Null hypothesis: The mind mapping study technique has no significant role in enhancing the acquisition of vocabulary knowledge, and educators in Saudi Arabia should not consider employing the technique to teach vocabulary in secondary schools.

Alternative hypothesis: The mind mapping study technique plays a significant role in enhancing the acquisition of vocabulary knowledge, and educators in Saudi Arabia should consider employing the technique in teaching vocabulary in secondary schools.

Limitations of the study

From the discussions in the paper, it is evident that the researcher perceives mind mapping as an effective technique to teach vocabulary in secondary schools. Therefore, there is a very high possibility of employing prejudice in presenting the results. Moreover, the research aims at accessing the suitability of the mind mapping technique on female students aged between 16 and 18 years. The study population may not give a clear presentation of the effectiveness of the mind mapping technique.

Definitions used in the study

Mind mapping

This study technique uses graphic illustrations to present ideas in a radical format.


A set of words used in communicating, and acquiring the knowledge of a particular language.

Literature review

The mind mapping technique plays a significant role in stimulating creative and logical reasoning. Essentially, the human being has two brains, one on the right side, and another on the left side of the head. The brain on the right side of the head is meant for creativity and visualization, while the one on the left makes rational thoughts. The mind mapping technique uses visual reminders that stimulate the brain on the right. At the same time, the technique facilitates the brain on the left side to make rational thinking. Therefore, the mind mapping graphic illustrations help in conceptualizing the interrelated ideas from the sensory patterns (Steinberg & Sciarinin, 2006). The mind mapping technique enables students to involve the whole brain in critical thinking, categorizing, and relating vocabularies.

The best method to teach vocabulary is using presentations, explanations, and practical activities. The mind mapping technique facilitates the development of ideal ways of acquiring various vocabularies that are essential in learning a second language (Ramachandran & Rahim, 2000). According to previous research, a student who has mastered various vocabularies and their meanings finds it easy to acquire a second language.

The ability to acquire vocabularies is dependent on the students’ ability to memorize easily. In spite of the difficulties of vocabularies, mind mapping helps in simplifying the words and bringing the perceived meaning through the five common senses. Other than understanding the vocabulary, mind mapping enables students to enjoy the vocabulary lessons as the entire process rejuvenates their brain (Zimmerman, 2007). Students will look forward to the vocabulary lessons, and they will develop the interest to master vocabulary knowledge.


This research aims at obtaining a clear understanding of the mind mapping techniques and their potential effect on the students’ ability to acquire vocabulary. The study results will be very important in advising the ministry of education in Saudi Arabia to integrate the mind mapping technique in their education curriculum. Therefore, it will be necessary to employ an organized approach to achieve the set goals. A detailed research design, an articulate sampling procedure, and reliable data collection instruments will be indispensable (Creswell, 2012). Thereafter, the researcher will have to use an excellent data processing and analysis procedure, and make an evaluation of the entire research methodology.

Research design

The entire research will take a quantitative approach, as it will involve some numeric data in measuring the vocabulary acquisition levels before and after the introduction of the mind mapping technique. The research will analyze the relationship between the dependent variable, vocabulary acquisition ability and the three independent variables: (1) students’ intelligence quotient, (2) type of teacher, and (3) the usage of the mind mapping technique. The analyzed data will determine the correlation levels of the dependent and independent variables.

Study population and sample participants

 As indicated, the entire research will focus on female students aged between 16 and 18 years. The research will take two stages in sampling the participants of the study. A random sampling technique will be useful in selecting the secondary schools to take part in the study. The selected schools must be using the mind mapping technique during the research period. Secondly, the researcher will employ convenience sampling to find female students of the desired age who are willing to participate in the study. The two-stage sampling procedure will be very efficient, as it will achieve randomization in the study that aims at obtaining very crucial information (Wright, 2010). The study will target about one thousand respondents; however, about two hundred of the questionnaires may be spoilt.

Data collection procedures

 The first thing that the researcher will have to do is examining the reliability and suitability of the data collection instrument. A pilot test will be very efficient in identifying the unnecessary areas of the questionnaire. In case the questionnaire has some irrelevant questions, the researcher will eliminate the unnecessary questions and amend the questionnaire accordingly.

The questionnaire will have the researcher’s contacts, which will be helpful in case the respondents need some clarification while filling the questionnaire. After delivering the questionnaires, the researcher will give the respondents about two weeks to fill in the questions. The researcher will then request the head teachers of the schools for performance reports before and after the introduction of the mind mapping technique in learning literature.

Instruments of data collection

 The main data collection instrument will be a questionnaire. The researcher will be keen while constructing the questionnaire to ensure that it contains questions that will obtain the required information. It will be necessary to relate the questions with the research questions and research objectives. The entire questionnaire will be articulate to motivate the respondents to present information that relates to the study. The questionnaire will contain a statement that assures respondents of confidentiality of the information that they give, and most importantly, no part of the questionnaire will require the respondents to give personal information.

Data processing and analysis

 The researcher will use the statistical software for social sciences to analyze the collected data. The coding exercise will capture the age of the respondents, and other variables that will express the respondents’ perception on the mind mapping technique in teaching vocabulary. The researcher will then use the performance reports to determine whether the mind mapping technique has a significant effect on the ability to acquire vocabularies of various languages. A correlation and regression analysis will be useful in determining the relationship between the dependent and independent variables.

Validity and reliability of the research methodology

 Clearly, the aforementioned research methodology procedures are practically applicable. If the researcher employs the described methods in collecting and analyzing data, the entire research will present valid and reliable information. The assuredly of confidentiality, and the sufficient time to fill the questionnaires will motivate the respondents to give true and reliable information. A quantitative research design is the most efficient design to give accurate data; therefore, detailed planning of events will enable the researcher to develop an accurate, reliable, and valid report.


Chen, H., & Leung, Y. (2000). Patterns of lexical processing in a nonnative language: Learning, memory, and cognition. Journal of Experimental Psychology, 15(2), 316-325.

Creswell, J. (2012). Educational research: Planning, conducting, and evaluating quantitative and qualitative research. Boston: Pearson Education, Inc.

Dick, W. & Carey, L. (2006). The systematic design of instruction. New York: HarperCollins.

Khoii, R., & Sharififar, S. (2013). Memorization versus semantic mapping in L2 vocabulary acquisition. English Language Teachers Journal, 67(2), 199-209.

Nation, P. (2004). Learning vocabulary in another language. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Ramachandran, S. D., & Rahim, H. (2000). A meaning recall and retention: The impact of the translation method on elementary level learners’ vocabulary learning. RELC Journal, 35(2), 161-178.

Schmitt, N. (2000). Vocabulary in language teaching. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Steinberg, D. D., & Sciarinin, N. V. (2006). An introduction to psycholinguistics. Harlow: Pearson Longman.

Tonzar, C., Lotto, L., & Job, R. (2009). L2 vocabulary acquisition: Effects of learning method and cognate status. Language Learning Journal, 59(3), 623- 646.

Whitehouse, A., T. Maybery, M., & Durkin, K. (2006). The development of the picture-superiority effect. The British of Development Psychology, 24(6), 767-773.

Wright, W.E. (2010). Foundations for teaching English language learners: Research, theory, policy, and practice. Philadelphia: Caslon Publishing.

Zimmerman, C. (2007). Do reading and interactive vocabulary instructions make a difference? TESOL Quarterly, 31(1), 121-40.

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