Why We Use Note-Taking Strategies & How They Help

person taking notes in a journal

At Banyan Tree Educational Services, our goal is to build the foundations for learning so that our students can feel successful both in and out of the classroom. One of our main focuses, especially as each individual learner is so different, is to start by helping our students with note-taking strategies to learn how to be a student.

Many students need extra support in understanding how to be successful in the classroom and what that looks like. One of the biggest components of this is learning how to listen, and with that, how to take notes.

At BTES, we use a style that emulates Cornell notes because this not only helps to provide the extra support a student needs in terms of visualization, but it also provides an additional opportunity to write a summary based on notes taken in class.

In this video, our Learning Center instructor, Lia Monzones, shares how she uses Cornell notes in her classroom/sessions and why this offers value to our Banyan Tree students (of all ages!).

Breaking Down the Task

One of the first goals that we focus on, especially for students who struggle with task management or distractability, is breaking down the task so that it feels manageable. Many students come to us with stress and confusion surrounding their previous educational experiences or full-day classrooms and are looking for support.

We start by breaking down the components of each session and instructing our students on how to listen and what to listen to.

Rather than trying to copy down what a teacher is saying word-for-word, we train our students’ ears to pay attention to key words and create visuals in their head.

Creating a visual in a student’s head is similar to making a movie. This helps to offer the visual support that many students need in order to make concepts meaningful.

Creating Manageable Goals

When a lesson feels manageable, a student is encouraged to participate. For students who struggle with attention, creating manageable goals will help keep the student focused. They know what the task is, how long to do it for, and what the end goal is.

We educate our students to pick up on vocabulary terms and the most important words in sentences. It’s impossible to write down everything a teacher says, so we help to take away the pressure by helping our students learn what the most important components of a lesson are and how to record them purposefully.

Focusing On Confidence

One of the key points our teacher, Lia Monzones, shares is that student notes should be translations of a lesson. By teaching students to translate sentences and focus on the most important components, they are becoming stronger listeners and writers. They are finding their own voices and using vocabulary words that they may not have used otherwise.

From the core structure of these notes, our teachers improve summaries by adding edits, adjectives, adverbs. This helps the student vividly describe what was said in class.

This encourages their participation and confidence, especially upon returning to the lesson. If the student knows what they are expected to do or say, they will most likely participate in class. Plus, if they have a detailed summary in front of them, they will be encouraged to speak up and share.

Note-Taking Strategies Build Success

Note-taking is something that every student, especially as he or she grows, will encounter in the classroom. Rather than finding ways around this, our goal at Banyan Tree Educational Services is to empower our students to learn ways to make their note-taking and classroom experiences meaningful by alleviating some of the stress.

By focusing on keywords, creating an outline, and incorporating purposeful visuals, we teach our students that they are smart, confident, and purposeful writers.

Learning how to be a student is very difficult, but with a little bit of help in the areas of note-taking and listening, we find that students increase their independence tremendously.

For questions about our programs, note-taking strategies, or educational opportunities, please contact us! We would be happy to answer questions and share more about what we do at BTES.

Leave a Reply