David Hyerle’s Thinking Maps are an effective set of tools supporting cognitive processes. Each map affords a particular process:
- comparing & contrasting,
- identifying part/whole relationships,
- analyzing cause and effect
- and seeing analogies.
Thus they are different to Mind Maps, which map content, or generate ideas. The sharp focus on a particular cognitive process helps to stimulate very precise thinking around particular purposes. In the English classroom, for example, a Double Bubble Map can be used to compare and contrast different characters in a novel, while a Flow Map can be used to analyze the narrative structure of the text.
The Thinking Maps form an essential aspect to any teacher’s cognitive toolbox, and, like de Bono’s Thinking Hats, Visible Thinking Routines or Tony Ryan’s Thinker’s Keys can be used productively in many situations.
There is also a software download available which is easy to use and can be highly motivating for students, creating thinking maps with ease. These Thinking maps can be exported as image files for inclusion in projects or presentations. When you are researching a topic and typing up a report, the ability to compile a Thinking Map on the computer is invaluable.