This is not directed at anyone in particular, but sometimes we fall prey to being ‘over-particular’ with notes – be in for a class, or for learning languages in this case.
Notetaking is not as easy as it seems, especially for foreign languages when there’s just … so many things to take note of. I think everyone who starts to learn a new language will encounter the same problem. We all know somehow that we should/want to take down some notes, but these questions arise.
- what to take down? – Grammar? Vocabulary?
- write on what? – pen and paper? digital format?
- how to organize each section? – handmade flash cards for vocabulary? What to write for grammar notes?
- what kind of paper to use? – notebook? loose sheets?
- how many to use? – separate notebooks for vocabulary and grammar? A single one?
- to color code your notes or not?
I could go on forever. To put simply, there are simply so many things to consider and it can be quite overwhelming. Some people will be like ‘MEH WHATEVER. I’ll just scribble what I want in a notebook’ while others (like me) will try to want to be organized.
It’s one thing to be organized, but another thing to be overly particular about keeping things standard and neat. Language learning is not something that you can break down so neatly and also something that changes and evolves over time. Do I make sense? What I mean is that as you study and get better, you will change your notetaking pattern, change the focus of your notes and you may want to do reading one day and another day focus on writing and another day decide to study dramas. It’s fluid and your notes will show it. Mine does. Although I have since established a pattern for my notetaking process, I loveeee to switch materials every other day. My notes are neat and organized, but at the same time all jumbled up.
Most of you have seen my notebook photos and thanks for saying that they look nice! ^^ But don’t think that I’ve always been that neat and organized from day 1. When I first started , I had the same question. HOW TO GO ABOUT DOING THIS?! Sometimes I take notes on the books itself, and at one point I was trying to make vocabulary lists on MS Word (I gave that up pretty quickly), and at times I wanted to type, and at one point I was using those online notetaking sites. It’s all about trial and error.
I’ve seen quite a number of people who tries to reorganize their notes by rewriting them, transferring them to another notebook, consolidating them etc. It’s just my opinion but I think that it is unnecessary. Instead of trying to make them neat and organized, why not spend the time picking up new knowledge? Maybe it’s just me, but I’m one of those weird people who almost never refer back to my own notes. hahaha. except in the beginning when I’ll very rarely look back to the notebooks and find that particular grammar point I’ve written down. But really rarely.
Rewriting notes take up looooooads of time. Time that can be spent reading a new article, and getting more practice.
All of us love pretty notes. But instead of spending so much time color coding, highlighting and making sure your handwriting is neat and pretty, why not spend the time on something else? ^^
People sometimes tell me that they don’t know how to begin a notebook and don’t know what to write. It’s normal to feel hesitant and unsure, but my advice will be: just write whatever you feel like. You will naturally end up with a notetaking system that you are comfortable with.
There’s no need to worry about organization. What’s more important is the knowledge that actually goes into your brain and that you actually make use of what you learn.
What do you guys think? 😀
p.s. Application for the Singapore Korean Speech contest closes tmr! Don’t forget to apply if you are interested!
p.p.s. good luck for those taking TOPIK on Sunday.