Thursday, 26 March 2015

Post 15 Round 2 of #28daysofwriting: Note taking and summarising: The Continuing Saga!

I don't know if this post really counts in 28 days of writing since I have been working on it for days, it seems.  Certainly I will have spent more than 28 minutes on it once I have finished!

Note taking and summarising: The Continuing Saga!

Having come to the conclusion that we must somehow (somewhere, sometime) start to teach summary skills, the obvious place to start would be in the English classroom.  However, we would also have opportunities to hone these skills in various other curriculum areas where students are required to read non-fiction texts and take notes for research.  At my school, I would suggest that humanities and science would be ideal subject areas in which to start.  Students do a lot of research projects in both these subjects.  The trick now is to come up with activities which teachers will not find too time consuming (i.e. which take time away from their subject matter)  and which appear beneficial, in a timely fashion.  If it takes a school year before students are showing progress, I think that would discourage teachers.

The first article I looked at is a pdf entitled, Summarizing Strategies, and is well work downloading. In 24 pages, it offers background information, strategies, teaching activities and a good bibliography. I haven't 'digested' it all yet but will and hope to comment further at a later date.

On the first page, the article mentions a site for teachers of history (any humanities subject really) to assist them in helping students with reading comprehension in such a content and reading heavy subject.  The information appears to be secondary school related though I am sure that some of it could be adapted.  I will definitely be suggesting this site to my humanities department.  Again, a further analysis of the site will come at a later date.

And finally (for today anyway), though written in 1988, Teaching Students to Summarize offers a good explanation of summary skills, the importance of developing these skills, how they develop, what teachers can do, and the importance of starting early.

The more I read, the more I am convinced that summary skills are overlooked in the curriculum of my school and that they are vitally important to help students understand the texts they are reading and take notes from them.

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