reading and notetaking for class

Sara's post on "how we think" in relation to notetaking got me thinking about my own notetaking practices. I am generally a fairly linear thinker and take notes in the same way: using lined paper and filling it sequentially with thoughts/ideas from the reading (usually on what I think is important in what the author was trying to say). I write notes/questions/my own thoughts in the margin of the paper.

But when I took notes for my presentation for class, I did it in a completely different way. Mostly, my notes consisted of questions the texts raised and connections to things I have been thinking about in my first semester of graduate school. I think there could be several reasons for this:
  • I had already read two of the texts (hooks and Kumashiro) and so wasn't reading strictly to learn what someone else thought; I had already spent some time digesting it and so didn't need reminders to myself of what their arguments were.
  • I was using a different lens than I had in my previous class (which was about curriculum in education). Since I was thinking about troublemaking, I focused on what the authors' thoughts might be in relation to troublemaking and how to expand upon those ideas.
  • I was conscious that I would be presenting on my own interests in the readings.
So, this leads me to many more questions and wonderings. I don't know if it is possible for me to digest the meaning of something at the same time that I question its meanings and relevance for myself and what I would like to study/think about; this would lead me to read it multiple times, but not in close succession. But I don't really think this is possible given time constraints and work load. And while I understand the importance of having a broad understanding of the work that is out there, does having so much reading make actually working with it too difficult? What would it mean for how I engage with other people's work if I read it multiple times with different lenses? Reading with a certain lens (e.g., troublemaking) is certain to make me miss some meanings and pick up on others; is this okay or a disservice to what the author was working with/on? Is it troublemaking for what is normally considered "academic" work (read: rational, disinterested, impersonal) to read and focus on my interests? Yet if I believe that all knowledge is contextual and that theory should always intersect with practice and lived experience, can I read in any other way? How do I get rid of my difficulties (imposed through years of schooling) believing that bringing myself--even writing, for instance, "I" in a paper--is academic or worthy of study? And, since I think that reading texts and taking notes in this way was very productive for my own thinking, why have I never done it this way before? How does or doesn't this relate to the outline of "critical thinking" Sara showed us in class?

And finally, what is it about thinking about troublemaking that leads me to ask so many questions--many of which are probably unanswerable?


Great post! Your discussion of how you read the texts in relation to your own interests and your questions about how to properly read a text--through what lens? for what purpose?--reminds me of a passage from Kumashiro that I was planning to (eventually?) write about on my trouble blog:
"Critical pedagogy needs to move away from saying that students need this or my critical perspective since such an approach merely replaces one (socially hegemonic) framework for seeing the world with another (academically hegemonic) one. Rather than aim for understanding of some critical perspective, anti-oppressive pedagogy should aim for effect by having students engage with relevant aspects of critical theory and extend its terms of analysis to their own lives, but then critique it for what it overlooks or forecloses" (49).
What does Kumashiro mean by this? How does it affect the learning, teaching, or reading process? What other methods (if any) should be done in tandem with this troubling/critical pedagogy?

i really like your final comment on this post.

"And finally, what is it about thinking about troublemaking that leads me to ask so many questions--many of which are probably unanswerable? "

mostly, because this is exactly why i love graduate school and the academy in general. the more i search for answers the more questions i find. its invigorating to me.

that's all. :-)

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