Note taking and revision should be much more than purely writing, and there are more effective and intelligent ways to do so. Optimal learning occurs when students use both sides of their brains to gather information by hearing, seeing, feeling and sensing it. Drawing idea maps, using thinking tools, making lists, creating flowcharts, timelines, graphic organisers, the Cornell method and using abbreviations are all techniques that can be utilised to consolidate and organise learning. When taking notes, many students try to write down everything that is written in front of them, or try to write down every word the teacher is saying, this often leads to difficulty keeping up, which in turn, puts them under pressure and tests their resilience to stay focused and engaged. For many students this leads to anxious feelings. The 80/20 Principle is an effective listening and note taking technique and involves listening attentively for 80% of the time and writing/ posing questions/ recording/ drawing for 20% of the time. Questioning what they are listening to, fires the neurons in their brains to start looking for connections to what they already know. Their brains are engaged in exploring and searching for meaning and patterns, which is real learning. No one notetaking method is right for everyone, but everyone will find a notetaking method that is right for them.
As a visual learner myself, I am more comfortable using a Mind Map / Brain Map or graphic organiser to summarise new information. The colour, pictures, symbols and abbreviations used in creating mind maps force the learner to process the information and make decisions on how it is going to be “simplified”. It is the act of making the study notes, that has the greatest impact on consolidating the learning. The resulting charts, graphic organisers, mind maps or flash cards then become useful tools for further consolidation. Trying multiple ways to summarise the same information further consolidates the learning.
Mr Ryan Cheers
Deputy Principal - Students