09 Mar 2022

How Note-Taking Can Help Foreign Language Learners

skillsfuture language courses man learning a courses

We communicate throughout most of our daily activities – from meetings at work and presentations to email and even casual conversations. The importance of language skills is widely appreciated in today’s globalised business environment, which will help anyone advance their career. In fact, many businesses seek to hire people who are proficient in multiple languages. This explains why more and more people are enrolling themselves in SkillsFuture’s language courses to enhance their abilities. 

This is a set of skills that allows a person to speak with confidence, comprehend messages, and exchange information with others. Language learning demands the ability to take notes efficiently, regardless of how you learn and what language you’re learning. Whether you’re planning to sign up for Thai lessons or Chinese classes, we explore how note-taking can help foreign language learners.

1. Prepares you to actively listen

thai women is learning lessons at singapore

Even though active listening is not a note-taking skill in itself, it is a crucial step for taking notes in the classroom. When it comes to real life, people usually don’t approach something like a lecture or other listening context without some sense of what they are going to hear. At the very least, students will have read the assignments leading up to a lecture, received the meeting agenda, or even have an idea of what to expect during the lecture. 

The activities involved in pre-listening such as note-taking even the playing field by enabling learners to prepare realistically. Here at Stanford Language Center, our teachers take the time to explore our students’ prior knowledge of the topic and even provide short readings related to the topic.

2. Helps you focus on the big picture

Sometimes in a Thai or Chinese lesson, some students mistake note-taking for dictation and attempt to write every word. Students who focus on writing only main ideas and important content words can address this issue and develop long-term memory. It helps students recall and follow the flow of ideas when they write down keywords as they listen.  

When studying authentic listening materials at higher levels of language study and, subsequently, in everyday situations, this approach is essential. There are many chunks of unfamiliar language in authentic texts, and if students cannot move past them and keep listening for keywords, these chunks can become “roadblocks”.

3. Aids you in remembering what you’ve learned

The number of words, phrases, and rules in a language may make it difficult to learn them all. In many studies, however, writing is widely proven to help students retain information because the practice builds new neural pathways in the brain and helps cement your learning. We put some thought and effort into analyzing and organising the information we receive when we write. By doing so, ideas are more firmly embedded in our minds, allowing us to recall them more readily. In other words, you will be less likely to forget what you learn when you constantly write in your target language.

4. Keeps track of your progress

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Writing is more about practice than anything else. This is why you should write as much as possible when learning a new language, whether it is Chinese or Thai. This will allow you to assess your weak and strong points over time as you progress through your language learning journey. Unless you pay attention to your mistakes in your writing skills, you’re likely to make them in your speaking skills as well. Thus, writing should be not only a vehicle for applying your knowledge, but also a means of improving your vocabulary and sentence structure. As an added benefit, it also helps you practice reading.

The Importance of Writing in Language Learning

Although typing is a very efficient way of capturing large amounts of information, hand-writing your notes while you are in your foreign language course is the best way to enhance your ability to retain information, comprehend new ideas, and be more productive, in addition to eliminating the distractions of your device.

We offer both classroom and online SkillsFuture language courses at the Stanford Language Center. One-on-one tutoring is also available for those who prefer a more individualised setting.

There are many different Asian language classes available at our language school, allowing students to learn a new language with ease. Visit our website to learn more about our Chinese or Thai lessons and get in touch with us today!