"Gath" (George Alfred Townsend), the well known newspaper correspondent, has been publishing some reminiscences of his college days. Concerning the value of note-taking at lectures he discourses as follows:
"For my part I don't believe in lectures," said my chum, as we came out of the room where we had been endeavoring to take notes on one of the prof.'s lectures for the past hour.
He opened an old note book and pointed to the unfinished sentences scrawled over several pages. "How do you suppose I am going to make anything out of that?" It certainly did look discouraging, and, as I had not been very successful myself, I said, "What are your arguments for doing away with lectures?"
"Well, every man is not qualified to lecture. In my estimation a man should be a pleasant speaker and be able to put his points so the class can get them down on paper. Some distinction should be made between important and unimportant matter. For instance, today I tried to get down a lengthy explanation and had just about finished it when the prof. remarked that it was of no importance whatever. Why couldn't he tell a fellow before he started out on it? A professor should consider whether he knows more about the subject and can present it in a better way than the best text-books do."
"But," I replied, "there are some subjects not worked up into good textbooks."
"They are very few, not many of them in our college curriculum; and if a professor can't hold the interest of his class while lecturing he had better use a poor text-book. We might learn the whole thing in the time it takes to translate our notes and copy them. What do you say to getting up a petition to have some of these fellows stop lecturing?"