Personalised Note-taking Very Important at Top Primary Schools

While there is a standard format for the national exam, there is no hard and fast curriculum drawn out for English. If you are a parent of an upper primary student, take a look at your child’s English textbook. It is practically left empty for the entire year.

Technically, English textbooks are of little use in the upper primary and especially at the secondary level. Most schools utilize notes and in-house resource books developed over many years. For Chinese, there is a handbook (词语手册)that spells out exactly what words students are required to master.

For English, there is no such thing. It is a wild goose chase where anything can be tested for vocabulary. There are more than 50 different types of questions for synthesis and transformation so how do we tailor the lesson to tackle each student’s weakness?

Experiential, Tailored Learning Through Personalised Notes

Since the English syllabus is so far and wide, there can be no one size fits all approach to learning.

Materials given out at tuition centres are predictive practices of what teachers THINK are likely to be tested. Many times, the guesses are quite accurate. However, printed worksheets are rigid. In a class setting, tutors cannot customise practices to fit the needs of different students. When a student makes a mistake, the tutor gives a brief explanation (along with the answer) and the class moves on. More often than not, the mistake is glossed over by the student. When they come back the next week, everything is forgotten.

In recent years, we have formulated a highly effective note-taking methodology during class. The notes are a compilation of EACH INDIVIDUAL STUDENT’s mistakes over the session. With this approach, two primary 6 classes working on the same worksheet will end up with dramatically different notes. This is natural because every child is weak and strong in different areas.

Some of you might ask, “Why not force the students to take notes themselves? Won’t they learn better?”

If they are blindly copying, chances are- they do not understand what they are writing. While waiting for the slow writers to catch up, fast writers get bored. Messy writers scribble hieroglyphs that they will be unable to read when they get home. The following week, some may forget to bring their notebooks. Some may outright lose the notebook.

Instead, our method is to decide which mistakes deserve extra attention for each student. We jot their names down on the class notes then make them answer a variation of the question on the spot to see if they get it right.

Example of mistakes

Everything is saved on Google docs. One copy is printed for them to bring home at the end of each lesson. If they ever lose the notes, they can reprint it at home.

“But so what if they have these notes? Are they going to read it?”

What makes our students read the notes that we have painstakingly crafted? 1 word – Fun. 🤩 photos of class moments and highly personal insider jokes.

Sample 1

Sample 1

Sample 2

Sample 2

Sample 3

Sample 3

This is Phi Learning’s proprietary note-taking methodology- a blend of human connection and pinpoint revision. We find this to be a groundbreaking way to encourage revision at home. Parents can pick up these personalised notes to get a better understanding of what their children are having problems with. With that, comes more targeted practices at home and ultimately, one step closer to acing English.

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Phi Learning believes in nurturing more holistic students. That's why we integrate documentaries, global cultural trivia and general knowledge into our English lessons. We believe that an interesting lesson begets interested students.

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