Time flies quickly, and we have had five sessions already in the course of “Fundamentals of higher education”. The course turned out to be extremely interesting as I expected, but it showed itself to be challenging as well. The self-directed preparation task requires more than simple retelling the main ideas – firstly, you have to learn to pose interesting questions and justify your interest to them, secondly, you have to be able to create clear and usable mind-maps, finally, you have to choose the most important ideas out of many just important ideas.
While preparing for the session I admired some authors’ writing style, while hating that of others. In some readings, I felt myself like in jungles, making my own way through thick layers of tree branches. It was difficult to follow the thought of some writers, because despite what we learn in English lessons, some notable writers give themselves a luxury of not making conclusions to their thoughts and not making logical connections between own ideas 🙂
The climax of my struggle was reading “An Overview of American Higher Education” by Baum, Kurose, and McPherson. I tried to read every historical detail on the history of American higher education, given in the article, being unable to catch a single idea of what the writers wanted to tell the reader. Unfortunately, I had chosen making notes as a type of self-directed preparation for this session and tried to write down all the historical moments mentioned in this and other articles. In the end, it was a disaster, because I spent eight (!) hours making simple notes.
However, in the end it turned out that “April showers bring May flowers”. The next session, I again decided to take notes, despite my previous unsuccessful experience. This time I was cutting unnecessary information like a surgeon while reading and choosing which information to write down. I did not let the authors confuse me by additional details, and I followed the main thoughts, paying less attention to extra information. I enjoyed my notes, and they helped me to prepare for my leading session and I had time left to think about activity for the leading session.
I am so happy that I have experienced difficulty in note-making now, when I am a student, because I now have time to learn this important skill, and I hope that proper note-writing will develop my brain and I will successfully use it for my work in future.