This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
Portfolio Essay: Unit 2, Note taking skills and conventions. “The Diversity of Communication.” This essay will explore the diversity of communication with specific reference to various types of communication and language styles used by particular presenters in lecture and seminar situations. We will also explore how, as a student support worker in note taking situations the learners needs can be met as effectively as possible. At university level lectures and seminars can be at first difficult for the student to understand due to the range and scope of different types of lectures within a specific subject area and the personal lecturing style of the actual presenter communicating the information. The student concerned clearly needs an effective support worker who has the ability to adequately interpret and process the information being relayed so that notes can be taken on their behalf to assist with academic revision, exams and coursework. Indeed the skill here for the support worker is to be able to extract the information from the lecture / seminar and to effectively pass it on to the student. In carrying out this work the support worker will clearly need to be aware of various communication methods and the appropriate use of different note-taking styles. Communication can be defined as being ‘essentially about a person sending or transmitting a message which is then received by another person via some means of interaction.’ This can take various forms such as spoken words, hand gestures (e.g. sign language) and written words / numbers. It is most often demonstrated in conjunction with other non-verbal communication methods, such as the use of body language, where facial expressions, the tone of the voice and other body movements / gestures play a key part. During the course of a lecture all of these communication factors will probably be demonstrated in the lecturer’s individual delivery style which could be misinterpreted by the student due to a number of factors. For instance, the lecturer’s message may be distorted by the actual layout of the teaching location and a student may not be able to properly hear what is being said and see what is being presented to the class. During the course of my work I have already encountered this due to the nature of the lecture theatre layout occasionally making it hard for students sitting at the front to properly see various visual presentations. (E.g. documentary videos highlighting particular journalistic styles of reporting.) The individual student’s disability may also be a barrier to them being able to adequately absorb the information and as a support worker one of my key duties is to take notes for the student so that they can concentrate and listen to what is being presented, thereby better absorbing the information. The support worker may also play the role of a translator or interpreter where they are relaying the message conveyed in a form appropriate to the student’s needs and in a way they can understand. Clearly this may be particularly difficult at times, especially if the student has a disability such as deafness, blindness, dyslexia/dyspraxia, physical impairments or mental health issues. It is therefore important to actively engage with the student, if you are going to be successful in meeting their individual needs and ensuring that you play a constructive role in the overall university student learning experience. With specific regards to note taking effective / active listening needs to be demonstrated at all times throughout the lecture so that comprehensive notes can be taken on the student’s behalf. Clearly it is helpful if the support worker / note taker is aware of their overall purpose and the lecturer’s purpose in these situations, thereby ensuring that miscommunication does not occur.
In reality the greatest barrier to effective communication concerns the listening element of the process with most individuals rarely being effective as listeners as they are as speakers. Poor listening skills can be demonstrated in the following ways:
By tuning in and out of what is being said and therefore listening in ‘spurts.’ Half listening, where you are probably only absorbing half of what is being said. Quiet passive listening, where you are listening but showing no response. And hearing sounds and words and not really listening to the entirety of what is being relayed to you, therefore missing the meaning of what has been said.
It is important to understand that during a lecture the lecturer is providing their students with a summary of key ideas and concepts to enable the student to then explore the literature further for themselves. This may be assisted by the use of handouts, such as book extracts and case studies and the use of visual aids such as OHP slide lecture summary handouts. In these instances the support worker will need to demonstrate effective active listening to link what they have heard and written as notes with the various handouts. Where all three elements are in play, in my experience active listening is crucial in providing the student with an adequate record of the lecture. Clearly, this may be most important if the student has to attend a seminar based around the lecture where they will be relying upon what you have written down for them from the lecture to augment and formulate their own ideas and opinions. In seminar situations the learning environment moves from being a formal ‘sit down and listen’ exercise to a more participative / interactive environment and clearly support workers need to be aware that here students are shaping the lecture for themselves. Clearly the student needs to discuss with the note taker what they want them to record and these situations will need the support worker to demonstrate considerable levels of flexibility and adaptation. In taking notes for a student the support worker needs to be aware that they are presenting and organising the content of the lecture and it may be useful for the note taker to listen out for key words used by the lecturer which may direct the individual student’s thinking processes. These key words may be some or possibly all of the following:
Contrast words (e.g. conversely, however, but despite). Repetition words (e.g. also, in addition, to repeat). Number, list and order words (e.g. then, secondly, finally). Summary words (e.g. in brief, in conclusion, to wrap up). Concession words (e.g. given that, in light of, even though). Amplification words (e.g. for example, in other words, that is). Cause and effect words (e.g. accordingly, because, therefore.)
Lecturers may also want to put across the main ideas of the lecture and give specific examples, but these may not necessarily come a particular order, so again the support worker will need to practice active listening and note the verbal clues that the lecturer may give, for example by commenting, “let us consider.........” It is also important for the note taker to be aware that they may need to ask questions on behalf of the student in order to clarify certain points and to ensure that the notes are comprehensive and clearly understood by the student. The support worker should also be aware of the use of various assistive technology tools such as computer programmes, for example ‘Blackboard’. This computer programme provides a web based virtual learning environment which allows the student to continue their learning activities outside of the lecture room.
To summarise, it is essential that support workers in a note taking environment understand that they serve as the main channel between the lecturer and the student, thereby ensuring that the message given is properly received and understood by the respective student. Experience has taught me that a great deal of flexibility and adaptation is required with each individual student to ensure that their individual learning needs with regards to the degree subject material, personal learning style and particular disability. This clearly requires that a healthy relationship of care and trust is established between the support worker and the student, thereby ensuring effective communication, mutual understanding and the maintenance of a healthy working relationship. Of course the support worker may experience problems with note taking if they are not familiar with the subject matter being presented and it may be useful to do some brief background research using the course module booklet to establish a basic understanding of key concepts, thereby ensuring a healthy relationship between both student and support worker. In conclusion it is essential that support workers practice active listening, are highly self-aware of their own communication style and try their up most to adapt their skills to each individual student. Indeed communication in both verbal and non-verbal forms is highly diverse amongst individuals and it is my belief that a key attribute to becoming a successful support worker is to understand this diversity, thus ensuring that effective and mutually beneficial communication takes place and that the student succeeds at achieving their degree at the highest possible standard. (1,500 words approx).
This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
We've moved you to where you read on your other device.
Get the full title to continue reading from where you left off, or restart the preview.