Cognitive Organizers are powerful teaching and learning tools. They encourage active learning, demonstrate that knowledge is interconnected, facilitate group work, accommodate individual learning styles and engage students in higher order thinking. They can be used before, during or following instruction. Using cognitive organizers before instruction is an exciting way of introducing lessons and also cues students about the lessons and activities to come after. It also facilitates discussions among the students, as each person is given the opportunity to share their experience or knowledge on the various concepts. Further, cognitive organizers can be used as prereading and prewriting strategies to activate background knowledge or generate interest among the students.
Concurrently, when teachers use cognitive organizers, they help students access prior knowledge and previous experiences, hence giving the students a framework of knowledge upon which to build. It may also serve as a motivation for the students as they are involved and interacting in the formation of the cognitive organizer and using their critical thinking skills. Cognitive organizers involve students in predicting relations and also help them make connections between various concepts. Furthermore, when cognitive organizers are use during instruction, students are able to connect better with the information being received. It also clarifies the relationships of ideas and assists many students with remembering the ideas easier. Moreover, students’ comprehension and recall of the concept or subject matter at hand is improved and developed.
Additionally, Shalaway (1997), states that cognitive organizers can be used following instruction, as a way of assessment on the concept or area. Students will indeed enjoy this innovative and exciting way of assessment, hence giving way for better grades. Also, after a lesson or unit, a cognitive organizer can help students assimilate and reflect upon the new knowledge gained.