Note taking, class discussions and vocabulary development

Make your own notes about these strategies and how you think you would be able to use them in your teaching.

All three of these strategies were important tools for me as a journalist and can play an important part for students learning Media Arts.

Note-taking is a personal preference; some students are visual learners, others are not confident writers. I sometimes wish there had been a 101 note-taking class/module/keynote in high school for future reference at school and uni and in life in general.

I would also encourage students to form their own style of shorthand for popular words so that time is better spent on listening and capturing key words, concepts and quotes.

I am a big fan of the mind map; it allows for free-flowing ideas, it’s easy to build upon and it doesn’t matter that it’s messy.

Hopefully class discussions will be dynamic. One of my favourite teaching bloggers Jennifer Gonzalez (2015) suggests that to avoid the “We will discuss …” intro to a class discussion and the classic “fisheye teaching” it is important to have a plan  for a more engaging, equitable, and more academically challenging discussion.


Practical strategies for good class discussions are:

  • Concentric Circles, also called speed dating or doughnut talk, where students form two circles, one inside circle and one outside circle. The teacher poses a question to the whole group and pairs discuss their responses with each other. Then the teacher signals students to rotate.
  • Asynchronous Voice, an ongoing discussion strategy that with a tool like Voxer the limitations of the face-to-face conversation disappear. I think this would appeal to the independence of later years students while recognising the importance of ICT in the curriculum.

The vocabulary of Media Arts is wide and never-ending. The ever changing and inundating world of Social Media, in particular, see to that. Even the word media, in the 21st century, needs constant definition.

I have found Brett Lamb’s online glossary a fantastic tool and place to start ( Lamb is a media educator and writer based in Melbourne and is the co-author of Heinemann Media and contributor to the magazine Screen Education.

Also, the Visuwords online graphical dictionary is well-suited to a journalist as well as a teacher or later years student. As well as being a dictionary it’s also a thesaurus; just by entering a word into the search box or double-clicking a node to expand a tree and clarify connections. You can look up words to find their meanings and associations with other words and concepts.


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