A big focus of mine lately has been around purpose. Especially about why we do things that we have always done. A teacher I worked with last year wrote a whole unit with her class around purpose and it really inspired me to look at why we do things and for whom we do them for. The intention for the unit was to inspire people think about themselves, and for that moment of inspiration I will be grateful forever.
So why do we do what we do? The answer can never be “because we have always done it that way”. Why do we always draw a one ruler-width margin on the left hand side of the page? Why do we always take notes using a A4 page? Does it actually make our learning better?
I love the above (and below) infogram on note taking that looks at how efficient our standard methods of note taking are. I love the Cornell system that breaks up the page into three sections.
These sections each have a specific purpose in mind, and each one is specifically valuable for the goals that you have for the learning.
The other great consideration that I pose to students is should they type notes, or should they write them down? Our next layer is to establish a method that works perfectly for each student, this synthesis of a variety of ways and ownership of the method is extremely meaningful and certainly leads to improved knowledge.
So now the real learning happens. Yes it is important to learn what you have written or typed, but there is such a great understanding to be gained from getting to the “why?”.