Part A: Let's talk about note-taking
Most students in a school setting take notes in practically every class, but all too often notes are used to give the illusion of engagement. The teacher is assured that the students are doing something—usually copying what the teacher wants them to write—so they must be learning. And although there is the tiniest shred of truth to that, without considering some fundamentals of notes for when and how to use them, most students merely replicate pages and pages of notes devoid of usefulness.
Now let’s look at how notes are used outside of school, by say the most innovative people in history. Just take a look at these. All of the following are people who are considered the best in their field.
What do you notice about how and why these people take notes? Each person wrote in their own way. Some are organized, and some are not. Most are not structured. Many have pictures. But all of them, every single one, are written to record and develop thoughts—which is the key.
Let me clarify another point about note taking, since there’s a bit of a stigma with the term “notes.” All too often in school students, and even teachers, perceive notes in the following manner:
Information + Copying = Notes
When it should be like this:
Information + Thoughts = Notes
In other words, the focus here is that students learn to write down their thoughts as they learn and engage with material. They certainly might have to copy information at times, but that is not the emphasis.
Part B: If you haven't already, discuss your thoughts. Take a minute or two to record ideas, reflections, or impressions.