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Tips for School Pupils on How to Take Notes in Lessons

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  1. 1. Note Taking Driving License: Tips for School Pupils on How to Take Notes in Lessons Alaa Al-Musalli, Ph.D. [email_address]
  2. 2. <ul><li>Note taking in lessons means: </li></ul><ul><li>Writing down what YOU think is important information. </li></ul><ul><li>Important information is what YOU think is Useful/New , such as: </li></ul><ul><li>Vocabulary (terminology) </li></ul><ul><li>Main Ideas (sub-topics) </li></ul><ul><li>Details (examples, names, dates, numbers, etc.) </li></ul>What is Note Taking in Lessons? What is Important Information?
  3. 3. <ul><li>Because what one person considers important information can be </li></ul><ul><li>considered unimportant by another, notes are never identical. </li></ul><ul><li>Therefore, </li></ul><ul><li>comparing notes is always a good practice to do after lessons. </li></ul>No Two Notes are the Same!
  4. 4. <ul><li>Notes are important because they HELP you: </li></ul><ul><li>record the important information in the lesson, </li></ul><ul><li>understand the lesson, </li></ul><ul><li>prepare for exams, </li></ul><ul><li>do better in listening exercises or tests. </li></ul>Why Do you have to Take Notes in Lessons?
  5. 5. <ul><li>Good Notes are: </li></ul><ul><li>tidy, </li></ul><ul><li>readable, </li></ul><ul><li>and include the important points. </li></ul>What are Good Notes?
  6. 6. Question: Do these notes look tidy, readable, and useful? Answer: Yes, BUT ONLY to the person who wrote them. Question: Do YOU think these notes are tidy, readable, and useful? Answer: NO!
  7. 7. Lecture Visual Student’s Notes Is Copying from the Board Note Taking?
  8. 8. <ul><li>Copying from the board without adding any of the information that the teacher says is NOT note taking </li></ul><ul><li>because </li></ul><ul><li>note taking is the result of comprehension not copying. </li></ul>Copying and Note Taking Listening -> Comprehension -> Taking Notes
  9. 9. Selection Using Notes for a Purpose Listening The Note Taking Process Writing Down Important Information Comprehension
  10. 10. <ul><li>Reading the pages/text/unit the teacher asks you to prepare can help </li></ul><ul><li>you understand (comprehend) the lesson and take better notes </li></ul><ul><li>because </li></ul><ul><li>you will not have to think about the meaning of new vocabulary, </li></ul><ul><li>you will be able to guess the content of the lesson, </li></ul><ul><li>you will be able to guess the organization of the lesson, </li></ul><ul><li>you will know the important information of the lesson. </li></ul>Preparing for Writing Good Notes Starts Before the Lesson
  11. 11. <ul><li>Listening to the instructions the teacher gives you in the beginning of </li></ul><ul><li>a lesson is important to take good notes because instructions give you: </li></ul><ul><li>the topic of the lesson you would listen to, </li></ul><ul><li>the purpose for listening ( what to do with the information). </li></ul>Listening to Instructions
  12. 12. <ul><li>Teachers introduce their lessons by giving important information. </li></ul><ul><li>Try to listen carefully to lesson introductions and take notes because </li></ul><ul><li>you can learn about: </li></ul><ul><li>the topic , </li></ul><ul><li>the main vocabulary used , </li></ul><ul><li>the order (organization) of main ideas in the body of the lesson. </li></ul>Listening to and Taking Notes from the Introduction
  13. 13. <ul><li>When you listen to the body of a lesson, you should try to listen to </li></ul><ul><li>the main ideas and details of the lesson and write them in groups . </li></ul><ul><li>The body of a lesson helps you do a task , so it is very important to </li></ul><ul><li>have your ideas and details correctly connected . </li></ul>Listening to and Taking Notes from the Body
  14. 14. <ul><li>To help you understand the structure of lessons and take good notes: </li></ul><ul><li>listen for verbal clues (phrases that signal lesson parts), </li></ul><ul><li>watch for visual clues (signs the teachers make), </li></ul><ul><li>ask yourself questions about the content of the lesson while you listen . </li></ul>Use all Your Teachers’ Clues
  15. 15. <ul><li>Teachers usually provide a summary of the lessons in the conclusions. </li></ul><ul><li>Try to listen to conclusions to complete your notes by writing down </li></ul><ul><li>the information you missed out. </li></ul><ul><li>But </li></ul><ul><li>if you cannot find anything useful to write down, </li></ul><ul><li>just pay attention to what is said without taking notes, </li></ul><ul><li>OR </li></ul><ul><li>write down what the teacher wants you to do for homework. </li></ul>Listening to and Taking Notes from the Conclusion
  16. 16. <ul><li>When? </li></ul><ul><li>Review your notes as soon as possible after lessons while the information is still fresh. </li></ul><ul><li>How? </li></ul><ul><li>read the pages/text/unit that the teacher used in class </li></ul><ul><li>read another source about the topic, </li></ul><ul><li>compare your notes with those of another student. </li></ul>Reviewing and Completing Notes
  17. 17. <ul><li>Notes can be: </li></ul><ul><li>1. Outline, </li></ul><ul><li>2. Pattern, </li></ul><ul><li>3. Linear, </li></ul><ul><li>4. A combination of the above. </li></ul>Type of Notes (Note Taking Techniques)
  18. 18. <ul><li>If you like learning lists , this is the technique for you! </li></ul><ul><li>This technique helps you: </li></ul><ul><li>take selective notes, </li></ul><ul><li>show the relationship between the ideas/details in the lesson, </li></ul><ul><li>discover the organization of the ideas, </li></ul><ul><li>arrange the ideas in a logical way. </li></ul>Outline Notes
  19. 19. <ul><li>Detailed outline notes (writing down the main ideas of the lesson </li></ul><ul><li>and some details). </li></ul><ul><li>Skeleton outline notes (writing down only the main ideas of the lesson </li></ul><ul><li>without any details). </li></ul>Types of Outline Notes
  20. 20. <ul><li>Detailed Outline Skeleton Outline </li></ul>Examples of Outline Notes
  21. 21. <ul><li>I. Introduction </li></ul><ul><li>Topic: </li></ul><ul><li>Main Idea: </li></ul><ul><li>II. Body </li></ul><ul><li>A. Supporting Idea </li></ul><ul><li>1. Supporting Detail </li></ul><ul><li>2. Supporting Detail </li></ul><ul><li>3. Supporting Detail </li></ul><ul><li>B. Supporting Idea </li></ul><ul><li>1. Supporting Detail </li></ul><ul><li>2. Supporting Detail </li></ul><ul><li>3. Supporting Detail </li></ul><ul><li>C. Supporting Idea </li></ul><ul><li>1. Supporting Detail </li></ul><ul><li>2. Supporting Detail </li></ul><ul><li>3. Supporting Detail </li></ul><ul><li>III. Conclusion </li></ul>Indentation is Important in Outline Notes
  22. 22. Pattern Notes <ul><li>If you are a visual learner (you like learning through pictures/drawings) , this is the technique for you! </li></ul><ul><li>This technique helps you: </li></ul><ul><li>show the importance of the ideas, </li></ul><ul><li>show the links between the main ideas, </li></ul><ul><li>add new information because you have space, </li></ul><ul><li>write and read quickly because you use only words and phrases, </li></ul><ul><li>save paper because the notes are short, </li></ul><ul><li>remember the notes easily because each pattern looks different </li></ul><ul><li>from the other. </li></ul>
  23. 23. <ul><li>Pattern notes are also known as: </li></ul><ul><li>Branching, </li></ul><ul><li>Spray-Diagrams, </li></ul><ul><li>Spider Diagrams, </li></ul><ul><li>Mind Maps, or </li></ul><ul><li>Explosion Charts </li></ul>Other Names for Pattern Notes
  24. 24. Detail Detail Detail Example of Pattern Notes Main Idea Main Idea Main Idea Main Idea Main Idea Topic
  25. 25. Example of Pattern Notes Topic Main idea Main Idea Main idea Detail Detail
  26. 26. Example of Pattern Notes
  27. 27. <ul><li>In Linear Notes, you write as much of the lesson information as </li></ul><ul><li>possible (sometimes word for word!) </li></ul><ul><li>This is the technique for you if you: </li></ul><ul><li>cannot understand the lessons (writing can help you understand), </li></ul><ul><li>feel that everything is important, </li></ul><ul><li>are afraid of missing out important information, </li></ul><ul><li>can write quickly in lessons, </li></ul><ul><li>can review and complete your notes on the same day after the lessons. </li></ul>Linear Notes
  28. 28. Example of Linear Notes
  29. 29. <ul><li>There is No One Best Way to take notes in lessons. </li></ul><ul><li>BECAUSE </li></ul><ul><li>Students think and study in different ways. </li></ul><ul><li>SO </li></ul><ul><li>Use the note taking technique YOU find Easy and Useful for YOU . </li></ul><ul><li>OR </li></ul><ul><li>MAKE YOUR OWN Technique by combining the three techniques. </li></ul>Which Note Taking Technique should YOU Use?
  30. 30. <ul><li>In order to save time while taking notes in lessons, write down: </li></ul><ul><li>content words , i.e. nouns, adjectives, verbs, and most adverbs which give you the content of the lecture. ( Do NOT write down form words , i.e. auxiliaries, determiners, and pronouns). </li></ul><ul><li>negative expressions. </li></ul><ul><li>words with prefixes and suffixes . </li></ul><ul><li>important diagrams and drawings . </li></ul><ul><li>whatever is written on the board and the teacher’s comments on the information. </li></ul>What Should You Write Down in Notes?
  31. 31. <ul><li>Think of the information in the lesson as Units (or Information Units). </li></ul><ul><li>An Information Unit is an Independent Idea/Detail from the lesson. </li></ul><ul><li>It can be: </li></ul><ul><li>a word, </li></ul><ul><li>an abbreviation, </li></ul><ul><li>a symbol (alone or with an abbreviation/word/phrase), </li></ul><ul><li>a phrase, or </li></ul><ul><li>a sentence. </li></ul>Information Units What is an Information Unit?
  32. 32. <ul><li>Using symbols and abbreviations makes taking notes Easy and Fast . </li></ul><ul><li>SO </li></ul><ul><li>Memorize a selection of useful symbols and abbreviations. These can be found in some of your books and on websites, e.g. the abbreviation ‘C’ for ‘Carbon’ in Chemistry, common abbreviations – ‘max.’ for ‘maximum’, the symbol < for ‘bigger/smaller’ in Maths, etc. </li></ul><ul><li>Ask your teachers for lists of useful symbols and abbreviations. </li></ul><ul><li>Invent your own symbols and abbreviations since notes are personal (mostly, only you will read them). </li></ul>Why Use Symbols and Abbreviations?
  33. 33. <ul><li>If you hear this sentence in a lesson: </li></ul><ul><li>‘ Language is located in the left hemisphere of the brain. ’ </li></ul><ul><li>You can write down this information in any way you like as long as it </li></ul><ul><li>will remind you when you read your notes of the ideas in the original </li></ul><ul><li>sentence, e.g.: </li></ul><ul><li>‘ left ’ = one word (meaning left side of the brain) </li></ul><ul><li>‘ L.L. ’ = two abbreviations (meaning linguistic left) </li></ul><ul><li>‘ left hemisphere ’ = one phrase (meaning left side of the brain) </li></ul><ul><li>‘ Lang. -> left. ’ = one symbol + two words (meaning language is </li></ul><ul><li>located in the left </li></ul><ul><li>side of the brain) </li></ul>Examples of Information Units
  34. 34. <ul><li>The quality of your information units is more important than their </li></ul><ul><li>quantity. </li></ul><ul><li>SO </li></ul><ul><li>if you know the information the teacher is saying (the teacher </li></ul><ul><li>is not saying anything new/useful), you DO NOT have to </li></ul><ul><li>take notes! </li></ul>Quality over Quantity
  35. 35. <ul><li>You write down notes to remind yourself of what you think is </li></ul><ul><li>useful/important information in the lesson. </li></ul><ul><li>SO </li></ul><ul><li>do not feel pressured to take notes the same way others do, </li></ul><ul><li>after lessons share your notes with others to improve them and learn new note taking techniques. </li></ul>Notes are Personal
  36. 36. <ul><li>You can use any kind of note taking technique or any combination of </li></ul><ul><li>techniques and write your information units in any way YOU like . </li></ul><ul><li>Examples of these combinations are: </li></ul><ul><li>Outline notes using phrases and abbreviations. </li></ul><ul><li>Linear notes using abbreviations and symbols. </li></ul><ul><li>Outline notes using phrases and words. </li></ul><ul><li>Pattern notes using phrases, words, and symbols. </li></ul><ul><li>Pattern notes using words and abbreviations. </li></ul><ul><li>Linear notes using phrases and sentences. </li></ul><ul><li>Outline + pattern notes using sentences, phrases, words, symbols and abbreviations. </li></ul>Find Your Own Note Taking Style
  37. 37. <ul><li>Adkins, A. and McKean, I. (1983). Text to Note: Study Skills for Advanced </li></ul><ul><li>Learners. London: Edward Arnold Ltd. </li></ul><ul><li>Al-Musalli, A. (2008). 'Note Taking in English Lectures: A Study of Omani </li></ul><ul><li>EFL University Learners'. Ph.D. thesis. University of Wales, Bangor-Wales, UK. </li></ul><ul><li>Barrass, R. (1984). Study! London: Chapman and Hall Ltd. </li></ul><ul><li>Burns, T. and Sinfield, S. (2003). Essential Study Skills: The Complete </li></ul><ul><li>Guide to Success at University. London: SAGE Publications. </li></ul><ul><li>Carman, R.A. and Adams, W.R. (1972). Study Skills: A Student’s Guide </li></ul><ul><li>for Survival. New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc. </li></ul><ul><li>Casey, F. (1993). How to Study: A Practical Guide. 2nd ed. Hampshire: </li></ul><ul><li>The Macmillan Press Ltd. </li></ul><ul><li>Chambers, E. and Northedge, A. (1997). The Arts Good Study Guide. </li></ul><ul><li>London: The Open University. </li></ul><ul><li>Drew, S. and Bingham, R. (2001). The Study Skills Guide. 2nd ed. London: </li></ul><ul><li>Gower Publishing Limited. </li></ul><ul><li>Hartley, J. and Cameron, A. (1967). ‘Some observations on the efficiency </li></ul><ul><li>of lecturing’. Educational Review. Vol. 20, No. 1, pp. 30-37. </li></ul>References for You or Your Teachers
  38. 38. <ul><li>Heaton, J.B. (1975). Studying in English. England: Longman Group Ltd. </li></ul><ul><li>Howe, A. (1986). How to Study: A Student’s Guide to Effective Learning </li></ul><ul><li>Skills. London: Kegan Paul Ltd. </li></ul><ul><li>James, K., Jordan, R.R., Matthews, A.J. (1979). Listening Comprehension </li></ul><ul><li>and Note-Taking Course. London: Collins. </li></ul><ul><li>Langan, J. (1989). English Skills. 4th (ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill, Inc. </li></ul><ul><li>Lewis, M. and Reinders, H. (2003) Study Skills for Speakers of English as a Second Language. London: Palgrave Macmillan. </li></ul><ul><li>Maddox, H. (1963) How to Study. London: Cox & Wyman Ltd. </li></ul><ul><li>Marshall, L. and Rowland, F. (1998) A Guide to Learning Independently. 3rd (ed.) Buckingham: Open University Press. </li></ul><ul><li>Palmer, F.R.; and Pope, C. (1984) Brain Train: Studying for Success. London: E. & F. N. Spon Ltd. </li></ul><ul><li>Parsons, C. (1976) How to Study Effectively. London: Arrow Books Limited. </li></ul><ul><li>Rowntree, D. (1988) Learn How to Study. London: Macdonald Orbis. </li></ul><ul><li>Salimbene, S. (1985) Strengthen Your Study Skills! Massachusetts: Newbury House Publishers, Inc. </li></ul><ul><li>Turner, J. (2002) How to Study. London: SAGE Publications. </li></ul><ul><li>Wright, E. and Wallwork, J.F. (1962) On Your Own: A Guide to Study Methods. London: Longmans. </li></ul>
  39. 39. <ul><li>GOOD LUCK! </li></ul>

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