Hello.

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

"Still lie the sheltering snows, undimmed and white;
And reigns the winter's pregnant silence still;
No sign of spring, save that the catkins fill,
And willow stems grow daily red and bright.
These are days when ancients held a rite
Of expiation for the old year's ill,
And prayer to purify the new year's will."
Helen Hunt Jackson, A Calendar of Sonnet's: February
Learn English in February

Monday Night Owls - 9 December 2019 - Taking notes by hand

We read an article which suggested that taking notes by hand is better than taking notes on your computer:

https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20191122-when-the-best-way-to-take-notes-is-by-hand

We also read part of an article about the best memory hacks:

https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20180904-five-memory-hacks-to-make-you-smarter


Vocabulary Top 10:

verbatim - in exactly the same words

copious - very large in amount or number

shallow - having a small distance to the bottom from the surface or highest point;

longhand - writing that is done by using a pen or pencil rather than with a typewriter or computer

margins - the part of a page that is above, below, or to the side of the printed part

cognitive - of, relating to, or involving conscious mental activities (such as thinking, understanding, learning, and remembering)

off-load - to give away or sell (something unwanted) to someone : to get rid of (something)

concise - using few words : not including extra or unnecessary information

pitfall - a danger or problem that is hidden or not obvious at first

hack - a strategy or technique for managing one's time or activities more efficiently.


How do you prefer to take notes?
Do you think you remember more when you take notes by hand?
What strategies do you use to help you learn or remember something new?

@april @Shiny03 @filauzio @Alexa @aladdin @Diakha @Manar

Comments

  • aladdinaladdin Radio Producer LEOnetworkPosts: 1,749 mod
    Any strategies I've been heard of it I've tried. In the past, I used notebooks indeed, but now we are relying more on mobile phones and computers that give us more accessibility. Currently, I use "Keep" form Google for my notes and lists even.
  • filauziofilauzio Genoa ( Italy )Posts: 1,992 ✭✭✭✭✭
    When I took notes at university lessons there were neither laptops nor smartphones around to be found, maybe just some dusty typewriter's clicking, echoing away in the wake of the professor's speech.

    The majority of us just tried to juggle two main primordial activities together at the same time:

    first: listening carefully to what we were being taught.

    second: rendering it on the paper in the most correspondent way to the spoken words.

    I absolutely couldn't keep pace with the rhythm of the lesson: soon I understood I had to be much more concise, use symbols, signs, anything which could turn out useful not to miss any important passage and ultimately crucial concepts.

    However, even so, nothing seemed to be working efficiently enough.

    Eventually, when I almost was reaching the brink of despair, I thought I should have had to ask someone else to come to my help.. someone nearby.. who could establish a strong relationship with me... at last I found out who.. my brain.

    Over time, lesson after lesson, I improved my ability to take notes: my brain proved the most reliable and valuable ally which helped me to write down great summaries, which unveil any main points in great detail; even to the point of further explain them !

    How was it possible by the way ?

    My supposition is that my brain ( not just my mediocre one, but every human brain ) is much more quicker to grasp, process, further elaborate, give you back any informations than any professors is to deliver their lessons; no matter the difficulty of the subject involved.

    Therefore, regardless how quick you are to take notes by hand, as long as your brain is at your side all lesson long, and isn't distracted, on the contrary it keeps focused on your developing summary, you can't fail.

    That's the point to me: when you use a digital device, I'm afraid, you're more relaxed and you're more likely to be like that: ' ok brain, take a rest, I've got the last generation microchip doing the drudgery '.

    Your brain doesn't waste time and seize the opportunity to abdicate to its role for a while in favour of the digital device and rapidly fall asleep.


    As for the way to improve your memory to recall the lesson I remember having great problems during my first years at university.

    Looking back to my entire course of study I understand that something strange happened: I struggled a lot with my first exams and much less with the final ones.

    However, often these latter were harder than the former: how was it possible ?

    My answer is that I gradually developed an efficient way of studying and remembering the main points: the one which optimally worked with me obviously.

    After reading the notes one/two times, completely, I pulled out a white sheet.

    I wrote down the headline corrispondent to the subject of the lessons, then I started drawing a flow chart.

    I used shapes, lines, arrow one/two directions signs, eventually some margins notes.

    I tried to keep as much concise as possible.

    I think flow charts are the best choice to focus on the main really important points of a lecture, especially if it is about a scientific matter.

    They really make a great job to help you memorize whatever it is that you assess as being very important: hence the importance of such prior careful assessment.

    For me flow chart worked well also for law matters though: by it I recently summarised about 350 pages in less than 35. I revised just these latter and was successful in the exam.
    glad to stop strict diet, splashed in belly flop? Don't care you're not light, here on English hop !
  • aprilapril Moderator Posts: 11,084 mod
    I used to take longhand notes when I was at school and I was always convinced that I could remember notes written by hand better than those written using a computer.
    I could remember and imagine on which paper and how I wrote a note so it was easy to find back that note.
    All my notes on the computer look always almost the same and boaring and another reason are that I don't always take my computer everywhere (a piece of paper is easier to take with, right?), writing on a smartphone is too small and I can't type fast!

    Then, I found it more difficult to multitask between taking a note and listening to the speaker.
    When I take notes, I will lose a part of the discussion.
    So in a meeting, for example, I hardly take notes.
    I just try to focus on what is discussed and mostly everyone will get the final report about the important points just in case that I forget everything.

    When I'm following a workshop, I will take notes by hand, adding my notes on the documents which is normally given to every participant before start.
    I have tried to use a voice recorder as a help in a course, but it has always turned out to be a disappointment, from a bad voice quality to totally no recording.
    So I'm glad that MEE6 has mostly succesfully recorded Natasha's sessions that way I can check again the whole conversation and Natasha's valuable explanations. :)<3
  • TeachTeach Your Teacher HomePosts: 10,315 mod
    @aladdin - Here's your correction:-

    Any strategies I've heard of, I've tried. In the past, I used notebooks, but nowadays we are relying more on mobile phones and computers that give us more accessibility. Currently, I use "Keep" from Google for my notes and even lists.
  • TeachTeach Your Teacher HomePosts: 10,315 mod
    @filauzio - Here's your correction:-

    When I took notes during university lectures there were neither laptops nor smartphones available, maybe just some dusty typewriter's clicking, and echoing away in the wake of the professor's speech.

    The majority of us just tried to juggle two main primordial activities together at the same time:

    First: listening carefully to what we were being taught.

    Second: rendering it on paper in the most accurate way to match the words spoken.

    However, I simply couldn't keep pace with the speed of the lecture: I soon understood I had to be much more concise, use symbols, signs, anything which could turn out useful in order to not miss any important passage and ultimately crucial concepts, but nothing seemed to work efficiently enough.

    Eventually, when I was almost reaching the brink of despair, I realised I had to ask someone to come to my help.. someone nearby.. who could establish a strong relationship with me... at last I found out who.. my brain.

    Over time, lesson after lesson, I improved my ability to take notes: my brain proved the most reliable and valuable ally, and helped me to write down great summaries, which recorded any main points in great detail; even to the point of further explaining them!

    How was it possible?

    My supposition is that my brain (not just my mediocre one, but every human brain) is much quicker to grasp, process, further elaborate, and feed you back any information, than any professors are when delivering their lessons; no matter the difficulty of the subject involved.

    Therefore, regardless of how quick you are at taking notes by hand, as long as your brain is at your side the whole lesson long, and isn't distracted as it keeps focused on your developing summary, you can't fail.

    That's the main point for me: when you use a digital device, I'm afraid, you're more relaxed and you're more likely to be like: ' ok brain, take a rest, I've got the latest generation microchip doing the drudgery '.

    Your brain doesn't waste time, it seizes the opportunity to abdicate its role for a while in favour of the digital device and rapidly falls asleep.

    As for the best way to improve your memory in order to recall the lecture, I remember having great problems during my first years at university.

    Looking back to my entire course of study I understand that something strange happened: I struggled a lot with my first exams and much less with the final ones.

    However, often the latter were harder than the former. How was it possible?

    My answer is that I gradually developed an efficient way of studying and remembering the main points: one that worked for me, obviously.

    After reading my notes once or twice, I pulled out a blank sheet and wrote down the title of the subject of the lecture, then I started drawing a flow chart: I used shapes, lines, arrows, one/two direction signs, and eventually some margins notes.

    I tried to keep things as concise as possible.

    I think flow charts are the best way to focus on the salient points of a lecture, especially if it is on a scientific subject.

    They really do a great job; helping you memorize whatever it is that you regard as being very important: hence the importance of such prior careful assessment.

    For me flow charts work well for legal matters too. I recently summarised about 350 pages in less than 35. I just revised these, and was successful in the exam.
  • TeachTeach Your Teacher HomePosts: 10,315 mod
    @april - Here is your correction:-

    I used to take longhand notes when I was at school and I am convinced that I can remember notes written by hand better than those written on a computer.
    I could even remember which paper I used, and how I wrote a note, so it was easy to find it again.

    All my notes on my computer look the same and boring, and I can't always take my computer everywhere, whereas a piece of paper is easy to carry, right?
    Writing on a smartphone is too fiddly, and I can't type fast!

    In addition, I found it more difficult to multitask between taking notes and listening to the speaker. When I take notes, I lose a part of the discussion.
    So in a meeting, for example, I hardly take notes, I just try to focus on what is being discussed and most of the time everyone will get the minutes about the important points just in case that I forgot everything.

    When I'm following a workshop, I will take notes by hand, adding my notes on the documents which are normally given to every participant before the start.
    I have tried to use a voice recorder on a course, but it has always turned out to be a disappointment, from bad voice quality to no recording at all.

    So I'm glad that MEE6 successfully records Natasha's sessions (most of the time): that way I can check the whole conversation again, along with Natasha's valuable explanations.
  • anajshanajsh Posts: 61 ✭✭
    edited December 2019
    Nowadays all the work is done on the computer. When I was in a college we have to use only notebooks, journals which we have to write by hand only. I like to write by pen. Now usually I don’t need to write anything at my workplace. But still I write recipes in my diary although it is available on the internet.
  • mheredgemheredge Posts: 41,872 ✭✭✭✭
    I swear by handwritten notes. If I write it down, I remember it. It never works so well if I take notes directly into a laptop (I've never tried a phone ).
Sign In or Register to comment.