In the Classroom

Listening and Note Taking

1. General Suggestions for Classroom Behavior

  • Sit near the front of the classroom. This helps to create a good impression, eliminate distractions, etc.
  • If you are bored during class (occasionally), review previous class notes. At least you'll be doing something which is helpful and positive.
  • Copy down everything on the board. A single word may be a clue to a test item or be useful to you later.

2. Parts of a Lecture

  • INTRODUCTION. The opening remarks usually have no instructional purpose, yet may set the tone of the session.
  • THESIS. This is the sentence or the statement that the instructor makes which gives you the topic for the rest of the hour.
  • BODY. This is the largest part of the lecture and demands your most active listening. There are usually five or six main points to be made with discussion and clarification of each.
  • SUMMARY. There is a tendency to tune out this part of the lecture, but the good listener realizes that this is his/her means to check understanding of what the lecture was all about.

3. Listening Checklist

  • Before Listening
    1. Prepare ahead of time--read assigned chapter, re-read notes, etc.
    2. Think ahead; anticipate what is going to be said.
    3. Avoid distractions--noisy students, open windows, etc.
    4. Sit where you can hear and see clearly, preferably toward the front of the classroom.
  • While Listening
    1. Listen for ways to relate ideas to previous, lectures, to the textbook, and to previous experiences.
    2. Listen for what is being said, not how it's being said.
    3. Do not try to write everything down.
    4. Be ready to participate.
    5. Look for clues from the professor that indicate what he/she considers important. (vocal, postural, and visual cues)
  • After Listening
    1. Review what was said as soon as class is over.
    2. Seek answers to questions that arise.

4. Note taking Suggestions

  • As you listen, categorize the lecture according to its different parts, that is; introduction, body, and summary.
  • Try to restate what is being said in your own words.
  • It is better to take too many notes than too few.
  • Use abbreviations as much as possible to increase your note taking speed.
  • Try not to take notes in paragraph form. It is difficult to find important parts when you are studying for a test. Take notes in lists or "one-liners" as much as possible.
  • Mark your notes with checks (\/), stars (*), question marks (?), circling dates and names, etc. to bring out the important facts.