Student Perspective: How to Make Note-Taking Easier

How can teachers make note-taking easier for their students? This student-authored post is part of a series that highlights student perspectives around learning and executive function in the classroom. 

Note-taking is a skill I find challenging. As someone with dyslexia and ADHD, it is hard for me to focus on the material taught in class while simultaneously writing down that information. Many teachers expect their students to rely heavily on their notes to review material, making it difficult for many students with learning disabilities. So I have a couple of suggestions on how teachers can make the review process more accessible.

Whiteboards that Record

If you’re a teacher who incorporates your whiteboard while talking, there are whiteboards that can record the information that you write down and turn it into a slideshow so your students can go back and look at it later. Many of these whiteboards are an investment that has to be made by the school, but they’re beneficial to all students, not just those with learning differences. Whenever my teachers use this technology, it allows me to either use their notes to strengthen my notes or, in many cases, use them as my notes, so I don’t have to take notes during class. That helps me focus and understand the material more thoroughly.

Class Recordings

Another great way to allow your students to re-access the material taught in your classes is to record your lessons so your students can look back at them. I use class recordings to help me if I have trouble with a concept. Rewatching the class helps me learn the material.

Note Organizers

Another tool that I find helpful is note organizers. They’re just a couple of pages made by the teacher that outline the notes for each lesson. Many take on the form of a fill-in-the-blank sheet, with statements like “the area of a triangle formula is…” This lets me know what the teacher wants me to learn, so I don’t get stuck on extraneous information that doesn’t apply to the class. These help me be sure that I have notes on everything the teacher wants me to know.

Note-Taking Apps

My last suggestion is to let students use a note-taking app, like Notability, that allows students to record the class while taking notes. I find this particularly helpful because when the student replays the class recording, the app highlights when the words (the student wrote) were written in accordance with the recording. This also helps me re-access my notes in a different way to make sure that I’ve written everything down that I need to know and can re-listen to parts that I find confusing. Taking advantage of different technological tools can be very beneficial. 

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  • C. Solomon, Student Contributor

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