Possible Reasons Why Our Basic School Pupils Cannot Make Good Notes In Class

Possible Reasons Why Our Basic School Pupils Cannot Make Good Notes In Class

Possible Reasons Why Our Basic School Pupils Cannot Make Good Notes In Class

Possible Reasons Why Our Basic School Pupils Cannot Make Good Notes In Class
For many people,it is ‘note-taking’, but for the meticulous, it is ‘note-making’ because when you make notes, you select and summarise the content that would otherwise be lost if not recorded. Regardless, both terms may be used interchangeably.

But making or taking notes the right way isn’t as easy as it sounds. It isn’t simply about jotting down everything we hear. Making or taking notes is about summarizing core concepts as precisely as possible in your own words (see GoodNotes, 2018, para. 1).

Arguably, the daily notes made or written by some of our Basic Schoolers in class are deficient in a way – they are of low quality, lacking their true essence. And this could be attributed to a few interrelated reasons.

Lack of fluency in writing, on the part of our pupils, is one common contributer to the poor notes they write. And the least said about it, the better!

It is no doubt that written communication is the most popular mode of assessment and feedback in our Basic Schools,yet little is done to improve it.

But how is fluency in writing related to writing good notes in class?

A pupil with no/little knowledge of writing conventions (punctuation, spelling, syntax, agreement, semantics, word and sentence patterns, complementary relationship between two or more comparable words) is at a disadvantage of writing good notes even when the notes are written on the board for him/her to copy. Why? – because writing is a complex process, and a result of the translation of ideas into content (material appearing on the paper).

And a class or a pupil who lacks these writing conventions is sure to write poor notes.

Note-making is also a learning process in itself, helping the pupil to process and understand the information s/he receives.

But when the pupils are made to be empty vessels into which knowledge is poured (LibGuides, Jan 2, 2020) as a consequence of their presupposition that they are to be provided with all information and products of learning as ‘cheap’ a manner as possible, they become poor note-makers.

Such pupils may even find it difficult to make notes in their own words and with their own explanations of what is learnt which subsequently leads to a lack of incorporation(of concepts) in themselves.

As an example, let’s undersee this scenario during the process of the pupils’ notewriting in a Basic 8 Class:

A teacher gives a simple definition of ‘drainage features’ as ‘the distribution of water bodies in an area’.

He continues: ‘Examples of water bodies include ponds,lagoons,wetlands,rivers,streams,and the likes.’

It could be inferred, with regards to the provision of examples of water bodies, that the pupils have been spoon-fed because Basic 8 pupils should be able to pen down examples of water bodies on their own and in their own words. And we need no soothsayer to tell that such pupils cannot make good notes – even notes on the whole!

Finally, it is a fact that learners are not likely to recall what they learn passively. As such, passive note-making could be associated with the decreased quality in the notes our pupils make.

Passive note-making occurs when the pupils are not prompted to write down what is important and of essential value to the lesson being taught or learnt, but are rather left to write down as they wish or copy whole pamphlets blindly.

When it happens this way, they write down anything (even more of the chaffs) they read, hear or see because they’re not sure what will turn out to be important.

For emphasis,and put in another way, the absence of our guidance of our pupils in their observance and selection of what to write down and what not to in the notewriting aspects of our lesson delivery in our Basic Schools is, perhaps, one of the root causes of the poor notes our pupils make.

By and large, certain reasons could be out of the ordinary as regards the possible reasons why Basic School pupils cannot make good notes in class,yet these cannot deviate so much from the afore-explained.

And I am of true hopes that, considering all cited, the tables will turn for the good of our teachers and their pupils.

Felix Agboyi

Lead Educator- Informed Teachers NetworkDon’t blame teachers when students can’t read or write

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