My three children (9, 13 and 16) have been working from home since the beginning of Lockdown. It has been a challenging experience but extremely rewarding and enlightening. Observing and monitoring their work daily highlighted gaps in their study and organisational skills. These included:

  • Managing their time
  • Staying motivated
  • Keeping work organised
  • Summarising text
  • Active listening skills during lessons
  • Note taking

I have workshopped these topics with my students previously so I was prepared!

In this blog post, I focus on effective note-taking and active listening.

I am very grateful for the teachers at my sons’ schools who are supporting us with the distance learning. They create informative and engaging video lessons that are uploaded daily or weekly. However, despite this my boys (Grade 7 and 11) were not sure of the content or could only remember some information. I realised that they were watching passively!

So I introduced them to the Cornell System of Note-taking.

What is the Cornell System?

Divide the page into 3 parts (Notes, Cue Column and Summary). Then follow the 5 R’s of note taking.

  1. Record: Write down notes during the lesson.
  2. Reduce: Soon after the lesson, read through the notes and summarise. Write down keywords, questions , comments and main ideas in the Cue Column.
  3. Recite: Cover the notes area and use the Cue Column to see if you can recall the notes in your own words. Then check the notes to see if you were correct.
  4. Reflect: Looking at the notes, reflect on how it fits in with other topics or courses. Making associations with previous knowledge keeps the information relevant.
  5. Review: Review every week so that the knowledge is retained.

Watch this video to learn more.

The note-taking keeps students engaged during the lesson and minimises distraction or ‘zoning out’.

The post-lesson activity and review helps them process the information, encourages deeper thinking and helps a student retain knowledge.

Try this method and let us know if it helped your child. Remember, you can adapt it to suit the content matter or the student or make it ‘prettier’ with different colours and diagrams.