Handwriting Classroom Notes Shown to Be More Effective

Handwriting Classroom Notes Shown to Be More Effective

classroom notes

Most of us remember taking classroom notes as younger students, writing everything by hand. Slowly though, that has gone by the wayside with the advance of laptops and tablets—not to mention the ability to videotape classes when permitted. Pen and paper have been fast tracked by electronics, and in fact, many younger students may be hard-pressed to find a writing utensil (aside from a stylus) in their backpacks today. You may wonder if proper handwriting is going to become completely obsolete when you consider how rarely you find yourself putting pen to paper; however, in the classroom it may be of vital benefit to put down the electronic devices and take the old-fashioned route for notes.

Studies throughout the years have shown that writing notes by hand in class or while studying text can lead to much better retention skills, and if you are a law student, then you know exactly how important that is as the amount of reading and studying required can be voluminous, and continual. There may be a lot coming at you, whether in class or from text, but because you are forced to be slower with writing notes by hand, you will tend to be more selective in what you take down, with the brain working to extract what seems to be the most vital information.

“When people type their notes, they have this tendency to try to take verbatim notes and write down as much of the lecture as they can,” says Pam A. Mueller of Princeton University. “The students who were taking longhand notes in our studies were forced to be more selective — because you can’t write as fast as you can type. And that extra processing of the material that they were doing benefited them.”

Better learning occurs too while you are in the actual process of handwriting the notes, and doubly so as you go back and review them in your own writing. If you are working from a textbook along with class, it is recommended to review not only the syllabus beforehand, but table of contents too. First year law students may often find themselves wading through extraneous notes they have taken, but generally become more skilled in the next few years at understanding what is worth writing down as well as retaining it for exams. Organizing notes after class can also be a bit more time-consuming but worth it in the end and should be completed after each session.

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