darlene-houstonNext month I will be heading to MTSU (Middle Tennessee State University) to teach 3 workshops for the 5th year in a row. Each year Dr. Carol Ann Baily (Director of Adult Services) gathers nearly 150 students for two 3-hour Idea Mapping Workshops and another 30 or so faculty for a workshop the following day. Last year Darlene Houston was one of the student participants. Her first map from last year is above. Here’s her story in her own words:

“I was taking 15 credit hours as a full-time non-traditional student. Those first few weeks I felt overwhelmed by college Algebra since it had been 48 years since I’d taken it in High School. I was letting self-doubt for conquering Algebra take over my mind and it was effecting all my work. It was apparent that if I didn’t change my thought patterns I would be defeated in my quest for a college degree before I really began. I needed to let “I Can” explode through the ‘can’t’.

After the Idea Mapping Workshop the previous week, I decided to prepare for an upcoming Stagecraft test by turning my linear notes into an idea map. My test score was 96 using the map. I thought I was too busy to map for the next test, but I sure found using linear notes did not produce the same result. That score was 69.

Weeks after I did my map, I looked at it again and drew an exploding “I Can” coming up through the middle. There were several things I drew that were essential to know on the test. I can still see the “I Can” visual in my mind, and I draw upon that mental image to carry me through when the task looks too difficult.”