Note taking and school science

I thought this point very interesting:

Wellington and Osborne remind us: “School science is still dominated by the transmission of information. Invariably this process requires the student to make extensive notes, either from textbooks or from the words and drawing of the teacher. Given that note-taking does form a large part of the experience of learning science, it is quite astounding that the ‘instruction in strategies for recording information is minimal or non-existent’ (Wray and Lewis 1995). …effective note-taking needs to have a sense of purpose. An instruction to make notes on the properties of the planets may risk leaving pupils thinking that they must simply note down all the information that they can find – that it is quantity rather than quality that matters. The reality is that the effective note-taker is someone who manages to discriminate the wheat from the chaff. Pupils must be helped to discriminate the salient from the not-so-important or totally irrelevant. In short, achieving this competency is a learnt skill which must be taught and can be supported in several ways:

1. Rather than pupils being asked to make notes on the properties of the planets, they can be given specific headings under which to make notes, such as the size, surface temperature and major constituents of the planet, and the nature of any atmosphere. The importance of this strategy is that it provides a starting point for the process of note-taking, giving essential clues to how to begin the process.” (p.79)

Ref: (italics in original; emphases in blue bold mine) Jerry Wellington and Jonathan Osborne (2001) Language and Literacy in Science Education. Open University Press: Buckingham, Philadelphia.


About backyardbooks

This blog is a kind of electronic storage locker for ideas and quotes that inform my research... literary research into fiction for young adults (with a special focus on New Zealand fiction). Kiwis are producing amazing literature for younger readers, but it isn't getting the academic appreciation it deserves. I hope readers of this blog can make use of the material I gather and share by way of promoting our fiction. Cheers!
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