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The Art of Learning: Note Taking Skills

notetakingGood learning skills can be cultivated from young. By knowing how to approach each new lesson or topic appropriately and by understanding thoroughly how you (one) yourself learn best, “learning how to learn” becomes a habit if practiced over time and could produce good results depending whether the correct field to learn is chosen in the first place of course.

In this series, we shall share with readers “The ‘WHYs’ and ‘HOWs’ of Note Taking”.

Importance of Taking Notes

  1. Organised notes will help identify core of important ideas in lessons.
  2. Documentation creates a permanent record to learn & remember later.
  3. Lessons may contain information not available anywhere else and its the only chance to learn it especially when tutors are sharing it from their personal experience.
  4. Lesson is where we learn what the tutor thinks is important and will facilitate learning more efficiently.
  5. Underlying organisation and purpose of the lesson will be clearer.

Note Taking Strategies

  • Before
  1. Make preparation to predict the organisation of the lesson (if possible)
  2. Check the lesson plan to check if the tutor will be going through the topic so as to convert information you have read into questions to ask.
  3. Complete outside reading or supplementary materials readup.
  4. Review any reading notes given prior to lessons or materials given and tasked to readup in prior lesson.
  5. Sit as near to the tutor in front as possible to eliminate distractions.
  6. Copy everything on whiteboard/transparencies especially the outline. (If its too much, ask tutor whether a copy could be passed around or emailed).
  7. Listen well with proper attitude.
  • During
  1. Write down the title/name and date of the lesson.
  2. Watch and listen to the tutor carefully.
  3. Listen carefully to the introduction whenever there is a new topic.
  4. Be brief in note taking. *Important: Understand what tutor says but not exact what tutor says. Understanding is the crux!
  5. Recognise main ideas by signal words e.g. importantly, especially, take note etc.
  6. Give special attention to details not covered in textbooks as they might help in your understanding.
  7. Copy down main points in summary to check whether you missed out or disorganised your notes.
  8. Ask questions about points you do not understand. *Remember: There are no stupid questions, only stupid people who remain stupid since they do not clear their doubts.
  9. Be attentive, listen, take notes until dismissal to prevent missing out any important points.
  • After
  1. Revise notes as quickly and as frequently as possible. Especially within the 1st 24 hours. Why? Check out the graph below.

    Forgetting Curve

    Forgetting Curve

  2. During 1st revision, compile and document reading notes and lesson notes.
  3. Review at least once a week and before next lesson. It takes hard work alright.

Now that you know better about good habits and good learning skills like note taking, be sure to stick to it and pick it up if you haven’t. If you are a personal home tutor at ConsultAtutor.com, try to inculcate it in your teaching method so as to cultivate good learning skills in your students!

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The Importance of Parent-Tutor Communication

talk!

Ever got into a situation that you found out a tutor has been working on foundation mathematics in a tutorial instead of high-level questions/sums that you have been expecting your child to practise on without knowing that the tutor is trying to work from the bottom first? Here’s where a well-maintained and well-communicated relationship between you(a parent) and your tutor will play a crucial role.

For communication to truly work well between the parent and tutor, it is imperative that conversations are regularly carried out. Face-to-face conversations are the most effective and allows the tutor to convey important information like student’s progress, weaknesses, personality flaws, lesson plan to parents and vice versa. Alternatively, if schedule does not permit, conversations via a phone call (not sms!) should be carried out as frequently as possible. On the other hand, sufficient room has to be given for the tutor to explore various teaching methods suitable for your child. So why is it so important other than simply conveying important information of the student between parent and tutor?

The reason is simple. A tutor commonly conducts tutorials once or twice a week and most of the time spent on the student is on teaching, guiding and clarifying the student’s doubts. For truly effective learning, sufficient preparation work has to be done before/after tutorials. Hence, the role of the parent in taking part in the child’s learning is all the more important as the child has to continue on the preparatory work at home and consistently.

To assist the parent and tutor into putting in place an effective communication channel that helps in preparatory work, various monitoring tools can be implemented like the ConsultAtutor One-to-One Tutoring Monitoring System.

Now that we have shared with you how important parent-tutor communication is. Don’t wait! Start getting more involved in your child’s everyday learning by discussing with your tutor today!

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