The question to be addressed: is there a way that we can read faster?
As I prepared for our pre-reading-week class, I had remembered that I needed to either take notes or annotate my text. I had begun working through the readings when I found my handwritten notes with the specific content that I needed to find in each text as I either took notes or annotated. I commented to no one in particular that it would take a really long time to complete my reading, with the addition of rather specific notes/annotating.
Although it was my initial intention to take notes, I ended up annotating because I felt like it would take less time overall. With my instructions close by for referencing, I went through the Graff article. It didn’t take much additional time. I completed the rest of the reading, including catching up on the material from the previous week. And then class happened, and I felt like I had a much more significant grasp of the material. My content knowledge was much stronger, as a result of deploying some strategic knowledge from the course.
Let’s go meta: using the scaffolding provided by Drs. Chick and Halpern, I changed my study habits for this exercise. Using a bunch of our terminology:
- My efficacy expectancy was high. While each of the tasks on list combined were things I initially felt would take a good deal more time than just reading and highlighting stuff, I also knew I was capable of identifying arguments, finding points I agreed with/disagreed with/could connect to prior knowledge.
- I had a number of goals, but most prominent was the performance goal. Dr. Halpern had suggested that we would be discussing our experience in the class which followed. (Narrator: they didn’t.) This suggests that I saw instrumental value in completing an annotated reading.
- Having both a sense that the task was something I could accomplish, and with a goal I wanted to attain, I valued completing the task of annotating my text.
But now, would I say that I have mastered annotating my text?
- I’ve acquired key component skills: I have a list of the things that I need to do to effectively annotate a text. These skills existed, but I had not effectively integrated them into my reading practice. This knowledge, then, was inert and needed to be activated; I was not activating it.
- I’ve practiced integrating them effectively. My subjective experience of preparation and execution in class was different. I liked that I had done the necessary work and that it had an immediate payoff.
- I’d suggest that any text I want to teach with or present on is one that I should annotate; however, I may want to adopt somewhat different strategies for working with primary texts.
As I write this post, thinking forward to class on Friday, I’m wondering where my list is. This suggests that I have achieved, at best, a level of conscious competence. I can recall three or four of the nine-ish items to look for while annotating my text. Maybe I’m still incompetent? I know I can do all of the individual components, but I haven’t yet integrated them into an unconscious practice.
Did anyone take notes? Did you have a similar experience to mine? Did it take a substantially longer amount of time? What other concepts might help to explain this experience of more effective learning?