Along with education and its associated technologies, note-taking has also evolved in concept and structure. Modern students are taking fewer notes of what is being taught in class. The easy availability of information over the internet and instant connectivity with the teacher are diminishing the essence that note-taking once had. There are also instances where teachers are supplying students with ready-made notes in the hope that the children will listen more in class. PowerPoint materials and transcribed files are substituting notes both in schools and colleges later.
However, the best school in Sonepat still believes in the conventional method of note-taking. Old school pen and paper can never be replaced by gadgets with internet connectivity. Relevant note-taking is surely about creating the ultimate guide for the exams to come, but it is also about comprehending, listening, connecting and engaging. When students carry the habit of note-taking to their future selves, they become better learners and retain the imparted knowledge for a lifetime, which is the current requirement.
Why note-taking is still important?
Students will have to listen in class. It is also difficult to write down everything the teacher says. But that struggle is the whole point of note-taking that most educators want their students to master. In a typical class, the students are expected to write down the important points that the teacher is stating. At other times, the students are to listen to the explanations. The notes taken in class has to be brief so that they act as recall mechanisms during revisions. Students really do not need to write paragraphs as in dictation. One or two lines on a specific topic are enough.
Now, during this multitasking of listening and writing, the mind is working hard to understand. The student will only be jotting down those points he/she feels necessary and that happens when the mind is comprehending what the teacher is actually saying. Mere dictation is nothing more than copying data. Ready-made notes do not place comprehension as a priority. Notes become relevant when students understand and write down in their own statements and that can truly act as the ultimate examination guide.
The art students need to learn
Haphazard notes with only sentences and no distinctions do not help. This is why the top schools in Sonepat teach the art of note-taking early so that students write down helpful notes from which they can read later. Subtopics must bifurcate the main topic, just like in textbooks, and a division must exist between two adjacent topics so that the student understands the separation. The mind repels a disorganised text. Unless properly organised, the notes are useless.
The notes taking in class are not absolute text. Students must learn to leave enough spaces within their notes for future additions as that incites research and comprehension. For instance, the students can expand the notes they had taken in class by reading from a book in the library or accessing a video over the internet on the same topic. They can also draw interconnecting with other subjects in that allotted space and better understand the correlation that exists among related subjects.
Notes also become relevant with highlights. Either by underlining or marking with a highlighter, it draws the attention of the mind to the important points during re-reading. Students might also pick up the skill to substitute words with diagrams and flowcharts while taking notes that not only speeds up the process but enables visual comprehension. Asterisks, arrows, circles and boxes, these draw focus and dwell in the mind as cues for the time when it has to recall information during exams.
Not in the creative sense but in a thought-provoking way. Learning experts recommend leaving a considerable chunk of the paper for future doodling where students can write down their thoughts while reading the notes. It can be a mathematical analysis, a question that needs answering or future research ideas that just struck the mind like lightening. The unavailability of doodle space in notebooks restricts thoughts. Even the creative caricatures take the mind into a thoughtful journey.
The top school in Sonepat forms these habits of relevant note-taking among its students. Notes exist not only as references but also academic guides. Swarnprastha Public School prioritises the skill of note-taking for these very purposes and continues with the old-school methods with modern modifications. Learning in school is majorly about comprehending what is being taught. The physical act of writing down on paper creates a solid memory. Faring well in exams is never the goal in schools like SPS where students are learners first and then achievers. Notes are vital in students’ academic journey. And they need to learn it as an art – unique for every child.