To Note or Not to Note, That is the Question.

Posted: June 5, 2011 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , ,

So, I’ve been thinking about note taking. Not note taking by students. I think about that too sometimes, but at the moment I’m thinking about note taking in meetings by adults.

I am a note taker, generally speaking. I’m also a list maker. It’s just what I do. I don’t always look back at either one, although I’m not recommending that. In fact, I have resolved, many times in fact, to read over those notes that I take more often.

Anyway, I attend a lot of meetings as I am sure many educators do. I frequently take notes in these meetings. I have noticed that there are certainly others taking notes with me, but it is the non-note-takers that have caught my attention. I have noticed that some folks just never write anything down. Or, more accurately, they never write anything down in my presence. Maybe they scribble madly once I am out of the room, who knows.

Once I started thinking about this, I got to wondering a few things. Is nothing that these people ever hear worth writing down? Do they remember everything? Do they feel uncomfortable writing things in public? Are they worried they would make others feel uncomfortable? Are there some situations where note taking is upsetting or unnerving to others? Does it depend on your relative position to others in the group? Is it just a personal choice? Can someone really expect to remember everything from all those meetings and not write anything down?

So, my question is, is there some general rule about who and when note-taking is acceptable? In which of the following situations can or should an educator take notes?

  • Teacher in parent teacher conference?
  • Teacher in faculty meeting?
  • Teacher in meeting with division head or supervisor?
  • Administrator in parent meeting with or without teacher?
  • Administrator in meeting with teacher?
  • Division head in meeting with teacher?
  • Division head in meeting with group or committee of teachers?
  • Division head in meeting with parents with or without teacher?
  • Administrators or division heads in meeting exclusively with other administrators or division heads?

I am a test group of 1; I need some more information. When and in what situation do you take notes or find it acceptable or unacceptable for other to do so?

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Comments
  1. Jenny says:

    Note-taking is always appropriate. If you have a good note-taker who has agreed to document/circulate for the group, it’s okay if only one person is doing it. (Of course, I don’t trust note-takers, so always take my own as a back-up.) But someone’s gotta be writing something down unless there truly are no a) action items or b) ideas that might require action in the future, in which case, I don’t really understand why there is a meeting in the first place.

  2. mseiteljorg says:

    Jenny,
    I agree about always taking notes. I have some specific situations in mind that are too specific to share without needing too much explanation. In some ways I think the question of why is there a meeting in the first place is a good one to keep in mind.

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