Dec 14, 2010 by Yolanda Fontanez-Coleman | Note Taking Techniques
Students in middle school are at an extremely critical stage in terms of academic development. Note taking techniques honed in these grades will help prepare students for their high school and college years. As students move through middle school they need to develop an ability to work on their own and it’s important that we as parents encourage them to become more independent learners.
Taking lecture notes starts with the process of active and focused listening. I always recommend that students read the text ahead of time so they are familiar with the material that will be covered in class. Becoming a better listener is a skill – and like any other – it can be acquired through practice. Focused listeners concentrate on what the speaker is saying, relate personal experiences to the concepts being introduced, ask questions and participate in class discussions
When taking notes, make sure to date the page, use abbreviations and allow room for additional comments. Do not try to write every word down! In order to become a champion note taker, you must acquire the ability to hone in on key points and important details and organize the information accordingly. You can do so by learning to pay attention to your teacher’s body language and their use of signal words or phrases – first, second, third…, of most importance…, remember this…, this is important…, the main point is…, don’t forget… – these serve as clues to what information is important and should be copied into your notes. Review your notes every night to be sure you have hit on all the important topics. Make note of key points, and reorganize the information if need be.
Deciding what notes to take down and how to organize them is a skill that is developed over time through repetition and practice. The more adept one is at listening, the better their ability to understand, prioritize and organize the concepts presented.
I hope you found this information helpful. Any insight or questions you have would be greatly appreciated!
For more information on improving your child’s study skills, please visit our study skills tutoring page.