Developing Skills for the Second-Year Journey
In looking back over my formal education, I have always been a good student. I have, however, not always enjoyed the learning process. I adapted well to the demands traditional school placed upon me and developed systems of reading, note-taking and writing that earned approval from teachers. I placed intense pressure on myself to prove my value through student performance. This included reading everything assigned, taking notes in an organized outline format, memorizing, and writing and rewriting essays until they seemed nearly perfect. Now, thirty years beyond my last seminary class, I enter the educational experience at a much different place. Enthusiastic about incorporating new information in and through my current context, as well as stepping outside my context to appreciate the input of other people around the globe, I look forward to adopting new practices and trying new tools.
I am especially intrigued with the note-taking approach presented by Sönke Ahrens in How to Take Smart Notes, which is based on Niklas Luhmann’s reading and note-taking routine. I love new ideas and having a place to store insights and information in a way that results in the creation of additional concepts poses an attractive challenge. I have already started my slip-box! My dilemma now is whether to stay with pen, note cards, and a tangible box, or to move to online storage. I can see the advantage of using a program such as Obsidian. In his presentation at the 2018 New Crafts conference, Ahrens noted the value of searching key words in an online notes program, and conversely, mentioned the difficulty of remembering all topics in the hand-created system. One may not be able to use Luhmann’s approach to its full potential if focusing solely on hand-written notes, though Luhmann, himself, seemed to do quite well. I will contemplate this trade-off and decide on a note-taking, idea-generating system that works well for me.
Regarding my reading and writing skills, I enjoy both practices, especially when I have large blocks of time in which to work. I prefer to read every word and digest the material fully. Given as we will not have abundant time to explore each book on our reading list for the DLGP 707 course, I look forward to improving my ability to use various reading approaches for specific resources. How to Read a Book, by Mortimer J. Adler and Charles Van Doren, offers helpful options to use in acquiring needed information. Specifically, I plan to improve my skills in analytical and syntopical reading.
Having not written academically for many years, I am in need of fine-tuning and orienting to current writing formats. I plan to improve my skills through newly gathered insights from reading material, peers, and faculty, as well as through practice! I desire my writing to flow out of the broad context of my life.
I enter this semester eager to learn and ready to improve my reading, note-taking, and essay writing abilities. I am thankful for our DLGP01 community and look forward to all we will learn, with God’s guidance. Let the second-year journey begin!
6 responses to “Developing Skills for the Second-Year Journey”
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I love that you have already started a slip-box. I am trying to decide whether to go digital or analogue. On one hand, the benefit of being able to search makes digital a great format. However, the ability to spread out ideas before you for writing is intriguing. I have a love/hate relationship with paper. I love keeping things on paper, but also I feel like it gets overwhelming. I do not want to just “jump on the bandwagon” of a new idea without careful thought. Obsidian is the best option for me right now as we currently have limited space.
Thanks for your comments, Becca! Looking forward to hearing more about how Obsidian works for you. I’m going to give it a try, as well… I think!
Jenny, What a great place to be, eager! I appreciate that you value the learning community. That is a huge part of what makes me eager to participate and it is a motivator when things are not as exciting. I think learning in community is such a valuable method and I am excited to learn with you.
Thanks for your comments, Sara! I’m eager to learn alongside with you, as well and am excited and nervous about our time in Cape Town. Hope your flight is going well at the moment!
Don’t be discouraged you are where you are supposed to be. Stay in faith and all that you need will come to you as you go through the program.
Thanks for your comment and your encouragement! Thank you, too, for the reminder to stay grounded in faith in God! When I remember that God is leading in my learning process, I am much more motivated, free, and excited about reading, writing, and allowing myself to be transformed.
Have you noticed changes in your approach to reading and writing for our DLGP courses since the beginning of the semester?
Hope you are well!