Proper Note-Taking Techniques Skill Development
TAKING NOTES FROM LECTURES • RESEARCH ON STUDENT NOTETAKING – • University of Michigan • http://www.math.lsa.umich.edu/~krasny/math156_crlt.pdf
Introduction: • Notetaking has been a staple activity of academic life, particularly in lecture courses, for decades. However, in the past few years, changes have led instructors to ask questions about the effectiveness of notetaking in promoting learning. These questions reflect concerns about the apparent decrease in student notetaking abilities, the introduction and dependence of technology of of learning within lectures, and the ease with which instructors can post their lecture notes online for campus-based courses or distance learning. • The purpose of this Occasional Paper is to review what research tells us about the impact of notetaking and how the review of notes affects student learning. What the Research Concludes: • Research on notetaking indicates that taking notes in class and reviewing those notes (either in class or afterward) have a positive impact on student learning. Not surprisingly, the majority of studies confirms that students recall more lecture material if they record it in their notes (Bligh, 2000). Students who take notes score higher on both immediate and delayed tests of recall and synthesis than students who do not take notes (Kiewra et al., 1991). Moreover, the more students record, the more they remember and the better they perform on exams (Johnstone & Su, 1994). In summary, notetaking facilitates both recall of factual material and the synthesis and application of new knowledge, particularly when notes are reviewed prior to exams. Sources: Bligh, D. (2000). What’s the use of lectures? San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. Johnstone, A. H., & Su, W. Y. (1994). Lectures- a learning experience? Education in Chemistry, 31 (1), 75-76, 79. Kiewra, K. A., DuBois, N., Christian, D., McShane, A., Meyerhoffer, M., & Roskelley, D. (1991). Note-taking functions and techniques. Journal of Educational Psychology, 83 (2), 240-245.
How Does This Apply to the Course?: • You are required to copy notes from the class lectures into your notebook – it is part of your learning skills expectations • I will prompt you and assist you in copying out what is important from lectures • You will have access to all lecture information (written and visual) on the classnet website for future reference – HOWEVER, this does not excuse you from writing notes in class. • You will be much more successful and learn better if you copy important class notes • Part of your skill development in this course to prepare you for post-secondary education is to learn how to PROERLY record important points from class lecture
There are Many Reasons for Taking Proper Notes… • Making yourself take notes forces you to listen carefully and test your understanding of the material. • When you are reviewing, notes provide a gauge to what is important in the text. • Personal notes are always easier to remember that the text • The writing down of important points helps you to remember material • Teachers usually give clues to what is important to take down. Some of the most common clues are: • Tone of voice • Prompting • Amount of time a teacher spends on the points and the number of examples used to explain a concept or topic • Summaries at the end of class and reviews at the beginning of class
Taking Notes in this Course • In this course you will need to take notes during lecture and discussions • It is important to know how to take notes properly • Do not write notes verbatim (word for word)
Rule-Based Summarizing • Omit trivial material that is unnecessary to yourunderstanding • Omit redundant material • Substitute super-ordinate terms for specific terms (i.e. Fish for salmon or walleye) when it is not important to the meaning of the idea • Select a topic sentence or invent one if it is missing when discussing new topics • Develop short-form writing to speed up • Summarize each page of notes in 2 or 3 sentences after your notes are done
An Example of Rule Based Summarizing The word photography comes from the Greek word meaning “drawing with light”...Light is the most essential ingredient in photography. Nearly all forms of photography are based on the fact that certain chemicals are photosensitive – that is, they change in some way when exposed to light. Photosensitive materials abound in nature; plants that close their blooms at night are one example. The films used in photography depend on a limited number of chemicals compounds that darken when exposed to light. The compounds most widely used today are called halogens (usually bromine, chlorine, or iodine). Microsoft Encarta
Revised Rule-Based Summarizing The word photography comes from theGreek word meaning“drawing with light”...Light is the most essential ingredient in photography. Nearly all forms of photographyare based on the fact that certain chemicals are photosensitive – that is, they (change in some way when exposed to light). Photosensitive materials abound in nature; plants that close their blooms at night are one example. The films used in photography depend on a limited number ofchemicals compounds that darken when exposed to light CREATING PHOTOGRAPHIC IMAGES. The compounds most widely used today are called halogens (usually bromine, chlorine, or iodine). Microsoft Encarta
Photography… • Photography = Greek, ‘drawing with light’ • Light = most essential ingredient • All forms of photogr. are photosensitive ( in when exposed to light) • Films used depend on chemicals/compounds – darken when exposed to light = CREATE PHOTGRAPHED IMAGES
A Summary is... • Words condensed in your own words • Able to answer the question “what is the author really saying?” • A wrap-up – eliminates redundancies and trivial facts
Use Short Forms - Abbreviations • Create your own short forms that will help you write less and understand what you wrote down when reviewing your notes.
Now You Try… • The poor quality of student notes may reflect not only a lack of skills necessary to take accurate and complete notes but also the complexity of the task. Notetaking involves listening to new and often unfamiliar information, transcribing that information quickly enough to keep pace with the lecture, and deciding how to organize the material to reflect the relationships stated by the speaker. Several studies indicate that students have difficulty organizing lecture material and identifying main points (Davies, 1976; Jackson & Bilton, 1990a, 1990b). Furthermore, students say they experience the most difficulty with lecturers who speak too quickly or inaudibly, fail to present a clear outline at the beginning of the lecture, or fail to signal important information (Johnstone & Su, 1994). Consequently, how faculty lecture (organization, pace, affect, inflection) and what faculty do during lecture (give handouts, write on the board, emphasize and/or repeat important material, summarize complex information), strongly affect students’ ability to take notes. Faculty can improve their students’ notetaking ability by focusing on three areas: lecture strategies, the use of handouts, and strategies for engaging students.
Now You Try… • poor quality of student notes = lack of skills to take accurate/complete notes • Stu. = difficulty with : • listening to new/unfamiliar info. & not able to write quickly • organizing lecture material & identif. main pts. • lecturers who speak fast/fail to signal important info. • how faculty lecture affect stu’ ability to take notes • fac. = improve by : lecture strategies, giving h/o & engaging stu’s