Writing and the Learning Process
I am a person who can’t always immediately articulate the thoughts and feelings I have while studying the scriptures. Writing is the most effective way I have of helping me to process those thoughts so that I can understand them. When I write as I process and think and ponder, I am also creating a record for me to help me later recall the importance of what I learned. It becomes a way for me to chart my own growth and progress.
Several years ago when I taught seminary, one of tools I used on a regular basis to help my students process their thoughts and retain the principles and doctrines they were learning was to have them write. Since I knew how it worked for me, I figured it could only help my students. Teenagers don’t always have ready access to vocalize their feelings, especially if they are newly becoming acquainted with how to recognize the voice of the Spirit, and how Heavenly Father communicates with them.
Each student had their own notebook they used, and when I posed a question that required thought, I encouraged them to write a few sentences about what it was they felt in that moment.
The CES manual for instructors says, “Teachers should give students time in class to meditate on, ponder, or write about what they have understood and felt, and to consider what specific actions they should take to apply it in their lives. At such times, teachers should encourage students to ask for guidance and direction from the Lord.”
Instruction from an Apostle
When Anna was on her mission in Australia, Elder Richard G. Scott visited her mission to give instruction to the missionaries and members. He emphasized the importance of writing during the spiritual learning process. He again visited that topic during General Conference in 2009.
He tells the story of visiting a ward in Mexico City. During the lesson taught in the priesthood meeting, he began to “…receive personal impressions as an extension of the principles taught by that humble instructor. They were personal and related to my assignments in the area. They came in answer to my prolonged, prayerful efforts to learn.
“As each impression came, I carefully wrote it down. In the process, I was given precious truths that I greatly needed in order to be a more effective servant of the Lord. The details of the communication are sacred and, like a patriarchal blessing, were for my individual benefit. I was given specific directions, instructions, and conditioned promises that have beneficially altered the course of my life.” (“To Acquire Spiritual Guidance,” Richard G. Scott, October 2009 General Conference.)
Later he reviewed the notes he made. He made a few minor changes to match the impressions he received. “Subsequently I prayed, reviewing with the Lord what I thought I had been taught by the Spirit. When a feeling of peace came, I thanked Him for the guidance given. I was then impressed to ask, “Was there yet more to be given?” I received further impressions, and the process of writing down the impressions, pondering, and praying for confirmation was repeated. Again I was prompted to ask, “Is there more I should know?” And there was. When that last, most sacred experience was concluded, I had received some of the most precious, specific, personal direction one could hope to obtain in this life. Had I not responded to the first impressions and recorded them, I would not have received the last, most precious guidance.” (“To Acquire Spiritual Guidance.”)
Thanks to Elder Scott’s instruction, Anna developed a note taking method on her mission that enhanced her personal scripture and gospel study. Her journals from that time are like gospel principles textbooks. She can quickly and easily locate any given principle or topic, the scripture references, her impressions and thoughts specific to her, and if a speaker was presenting, what that speaker said.
General Conference Rocket Boosters
The process of writing while receiving spiritual impressions is essential to our spiritual growth and progress. Having a process in place that facilitates reviewing those notes and impressions can be like attaching rocket boosters to your ability to learn.
While listening to the speakers during General Conference, it is traditional to take notes. But then what happens to your notes? Do you simply put them away in a corner while they gather dust? Or maybe taking notes isn’t your thing, and you’d rather doodle while you listen.
We are delighted to announce something that will add rocket boosters to your General Conference experience. Anna has agreed to share her note taking methodology. Available now in our store is a professionally-developed packet that contains:
- An instruction sheet of how to take rocket-boosted notes (includes jotting down the phrases you hear, your personal impressions, scriptural and cross references, and the topic of each talk);
- Six (6) pages of targeted, memory-creating note taking tools; and
- Two (2) unique coloring pages to enable creative meditation and solidify the words and concepts into other parts of your memory.
Because we are so excited about this, it is offered at discounted introductory price, and will be delivered to you in time for conference.
What are you waiting for? Check it out, and start your blast off countdown!