It is rare to see a teen in a Bible class in the church environment taking notes. Teachers and parents don’t expect it, in part because there is no testing in Bible classes. Yet, there is evidence from secular studies that the mere practice of note taking can improve student attention to the lesson and help them with organizing and remembering the information.
The problem is that standard note taking feels a little too much like school to most teens. Even though Bible classes resemble their academic classes during the week, they have come to expect a more relaxed learning environment with few expectations at church. Making note taking a little more fun might encourage teens to take notes that could help them grow spiritually.
The process is called sketchnoting. Instead of taking notes with words, students make doodles or sketches that represent ideas, facts and principles. Studies have shown that drawing rather than writing notes makes students more likely to remember information. The thinking is that writing notes with words is a passive summarization of what the speaker has said. Drawing or doodling, however, requires the student to think about what was said, synthesize and process it into a simple quick drawing that represents what was said.
The process will be slow at first unless students are already used to this format of note taking. You may want them to begin by capturing main ideas, rather than everything that is said. Have students share their notes so those who are struggling can get a better understanding of the process. Encourage students to review their notes at home and before you begin asking review questions about previous lessons.
Not every student will want to participate in sketchnoting, but those who do may find they are learning, understanding and remembering more of what they are taught in Bible classes.