Improve Concentration: Take Notes
Many children find it difficult to concentrate in class. They hear someone drop their pencil case, and that sets off a train of thought. They see a spider up on the wall, and that sets off another train of thought. Their tummy rumbles, and they start thinking about eating their lunch, wondering how long it is until break-time. By this stage they have missed some important information given by the teacher. One method of helping children to focus and pay attention in class and to gain the most out of their lessons is by taking notes.
Taking notes helps us to listen well and remember more easily. Good note-taking is a skill that needs to be developed and practised. This can be done at home as well as at school, and should start around Grade 6 level.
Note-Taking at School
It is important that teachers in class assist children to develop the skill of taking good notes. Many children are inclined to write lengthy sentences, rather than key words.
Begin by giving some simple instructions, such as what to do for homework, while children write down the key words. Before actually writing the homework up on the board, discuss with the children what they have written. Use one or two good examples to show the class.
Gradually build up to lengthier and more complex information, such as the steps to solve a mathematical problem, or content work given in a history class. Check the children’s work and display good examples.
Note-Taking at Home
Parents can help children practise note-taking in some of the following ways:
• Listen to the news with your child, and help them to note down the main points, using key words, not long sentences.
• Read an article to your child, and help them to write down the main ideas in point form.
• Let various members of the family relate the day’s news, and encourage the child to write down the key points.
• Go through notes given in class, and write down the key points.
Afterwards, the parent can ask the child to retell the information, using the written notes as a guide.
Note-taking is a vital skill for tertiary education. Many students who have not been exposed to this previously, struggle to make their own notes in lectures. This is therefore another important reason to train children to take good notes.