Doctor of Leadership in Global Perspectives: Crafting Ministry in an Interconnected World


Written by: on January 13, 2023

To start, I would say that these readings help me to gather my  thoughts and to point me in the direction that I needed to go. In gathering myself to start this blogging is like trying to start a car with dead battery, but anyway I guess if I just start writing something I might stumble unto something, that would be a way of encouraging me to start something.

For my self-assessment in my reading, taking notes and writing essays, I needed  a lot of work, discipline and a lot of areas to improve. If I have to read to get through chapters, it would be like just reading without getting or understanding what I read. Let alone to read more than a book in week? With this I would just have to stare at the book without even reading it; it is so taunting. So when I read the pages from the book by Mr. Adler (How to Read a Book: The Ultimate Guide by Mortimer Adler), it give me some ideas that I would like to use to improve not only my reading but my reading comprehension as well. From the “Four Levels of Reading,” Inspection reading and Analytical reading can be used to preview the book for its content and to quickly read through it while understanding it respectively.

With regards to taking notes, I try to control myself from “over-highlighting” pages; which indicates the need to improve my notetaking skill.  I selectively read through the assigned book, “How to Take Smart Notes: One Simple Technique to Boost Writing, Learning and Thinking,” and watched the video on Vimeo (both by Ahren Sonke) and I still did not really grasp the exact guidelines on how to take smart notes. However, one of the takeaway that I got from Sonke is when he mentioned that the notes that were taken are guidelines in which we the reader expands upon. It is something like you/I read it, understand it, applied it and ask the question of what else can we do with it or what else that it does not said that is needed to be said.

In writing the essays, I would say it is the fruition of the combination of the ability to absorbed reading materials (or viewed materials) and the ability to expands on the information noted. Therefore, the quality of the essay depends on the levels of the readings and the note taking and a thoughtful process as well. And this leads to the content of the third reading which is critical thinking. The third reading is the “The Miniature Guide to Critical Thinking: Concepts and Tools,” by Paul and Elder. On page 19 (digital format) under the Universal Intellectual Standards lists the following as essential elements to effective thinking or critical thinking: clarity, accuracy, precision, relevance and depth. Why am I listing them and not expanding on them? These are agreeable guidelines toward critical thinking.

Edward Glaeser, a professor of Economics at Harvard University, wrote this in the Forbes magazines, “The ability to think critically, as conceived in this volume, involves three things: (1.) An attitude of being disposed to consider in a thoughtful way the problems and subjects that come within the range of one’s experiences, (2.) Knowledge of the methods of logical inquiry and reasoning, and (3.) Some skill in applying those methods. In short, the ability to think critically is the art of analyzing and evaluating data for a practical approach to understand the data, then determining what to believe and how to act (Chris Cebollero, April 20, 2018).” Basically on the same note, critical thinking is the process of taking notes of what is available, digesting and making the application or expand upon it.

With that being said, I do feel the need to shape in these following areas to help me survive this process: (a.) reading and digesting it, (b.) absorbing important notes and be able to expand on them, and (c.) adding critical thinking skills while doing a and b.

About the Author

Noel Liemam

8 responses to “PUSH IT, IT MAY START”

  1. mm Jonita Fair-Payton says:

    I really like the way you organized your response. I am so visual, and I had a difficult time visualizing the layout of my post. It’s been really nice reading through everyone’s responses and seeing the different approaches. I am also an over-highlighter as well as a relentless dog-earer (not sure if that’s an actual word)! It’s refreshing to know that we are not alone on this journey.

  2. Travis Vaughn says:

    I resonate with your self-assessment of over-highlighting and the need to improve on your note-taking skills. This is an area where I must improve as well. Honestly, I do not often think about how to take better notes, but it has become more clear that this is an art that will help me think more critically. I wrestle with the temptation to merely highlight, way too much, especially when I read a book with information and/or principles I want to apply in my daily work. However, in my case, I’ve found that I am able to recall/locate ideas or arguments when I write in the pages of the book, more than if I limited my analysis to highlighting. That way, I’m able to see how I am agreeing, disagreeing, or simply interacting with the author. I’ve also begun to purchase more books on kindle. I’m curious if you have found e-books/kindle to be helpful/less helpful in your situation. When I highlight in a kindle book, I am able to see my highlights (and notes) more clearly as they are listed to the right of my screen when I select the option to display them. This has been helpful when trying to capture my ideas in a way to steer them toward application. At any rate, I do hope to add better note-taking, reading, and writing skills and tools to my toolbox…with less highlighting.

  3. mm Pam Lau says:

    Noel, I resonate with your imagery: “Push it, it may start.” I cannot count how many times I have organized all my belongings, settled myself in a library or coffee shop preparing myself to research, write or study when I find myself doing everything else but what I am supposed to be doing. To your point about your quote, “Therefore, the quality of the essay depends on the levels of the readings and the note taking and a thoughtful process as well,” if we want to produce quality work, we must “push it” dig deep and read with quality focus and attention. I like the quote by Harvard Professor Edward Glaeser, too! It seems you are already creating your own slip note box right here on our blog.

  4. Jenny Dooley says:

    Noel, I enjoyed the practicality of your ending remarks on critical thinking, “…critical thinking is the process of taking notes of what is available, digesting and making the application or expand upon it.” You have helped me understand a little more what I need to be looking for when reading. I need to be looking for that single idea or thought that sparks something within me worth taking the time to write, digest, apply, and expand on. If I push it, it might start. If it does, I might get somewhere!

  5. Jennifer Vernam says:

    I agree that the technical process outlined by Alder was a little confusing… ok, maybe a lot confusing… to me. However, the intention behind what he is suggesting of allowing the free-flow process of information collected, digested and synthesized over time, is compelling. I will be interested to see what techniques you (and everyone else in our cohort) opt to use in the upcoming months.

  6. “Trying to start a car with a dead battery…” Noel, I love your humility and your determination. Anytime a person quotes a Harvard source in regard to writing, means they are digging deeper. Great job, Noel!
    Hey, I resonate with your concerns because writing and critical thinking do not come easy. Yes they take discipline!
    I like your words, “absorb” and “expand” I will keep these words in mind as I move forward. As I absorb the material, I will be able to expand on the material. Thank you for this insight! I appreciate it!

  7. mm Dinka Utomo says:

    Hi Noel! I like your conclusion at the end of your writing. It seems to work for me as well.

    Regarding the fourth level according to Adler, synoptical reading, how do you apply your strategy to it?

  8. mm Russell Chun says:

    Hi Noel, It is great to see your post. I like the thoughtful way you approached all of this.

    Reading, absorbing and creating something that adds to the discussion.


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