When I am leading a session I often discourage those in the group from taking notes. Schools probably still teach that it is helpful to write while listening, but I’m not so sure.
At times I have encouraged students, if they have to have a pen in hand, to doodle while actively listening. While some might take up my suggestion for a while they usually return to default setting pretty quickly filling pages with words.
Most often these words do nothing more than duplicate the speaker’s script.
Recently on a weekend retreat one of the participants showed me the notes he had taken as I spoke. The theme of the retreat was “Behold I am doing a new thing, can you not perceive it.” Isaiah 43
His notes were mostly sketches he had drawn with a few key words added. While Robin’s drawings are impressive (the people present are easily recognisable in the drawings), I was most moved by the way he had not simply reproduced my words but related them to his own experience. This is a sure sign of active listening.
Robin is happy for me to share his work with you.
You can see more of Robin Hutton’s work at this Flickr link.