July 27, 2009


Practice, Practice, and More Practice
By Carolee Freer

Practice makes perfect - or so they say. After teaching court reporting for over 20 years, I have again returned to the genesis of all court reporting programs: theory. Believe me when I say it was not an easy decision to go back once again to the very beginning and resume instruction in court reporting theory. But all of my dreams and expectations for this crop of theory students are materializing. They are bright, quick, and eager to learn. Although I teach other classes, my focus on ensuring success for my group overshadows many of my thoughts during waking hours. After having taught high-speed classes for many years, I was reminded by my theory students that those same perplexing questions about practice are on their minds, too: What should I practice? How long should I practice? When should I practice? That's when I decided to go back up the ladder of success to my high-speed students and ask them what had worked best for them in their practice regimen so that I could share this invaluable information with the theory students. Their answers to my question "What is your best practice tip?" follow: 1. Practice at least one hour every day. 2. Transcribe your notes at least three times a week. This helps you to know and understand what you are really writing and what you are not writing. 3. Read back your notes and circle problem areas. 4. Write problem words on 3x5 cards and practice repeatedly until you have mastered the word. 5. Practice in a comfortable environment with tapes, reference material, books, and a dictionary at your fingertips. 6. Review theory outlines. 7. Analyze your typed transcripts for drops, fingering errors, and mistranslates. 8. Warm up before every class and be prepared. 9. Practice slower material for control and accuracy. 10. Type up your tests as frequently as possible. 11. Practice a speed tape until you can write it smoothly with control and accuracy. 12. Use brief forms and phrases only if you feel comfortable using them. 13. Practice to your favorite television show if it is within your speed range. 14. Use hard copy to build your dictionary and to write unusual words and phrases. 15. Practice for short spurts on football and basketball games. This provides excellent practice for numbers and fingering dexterity. 16. Practice with a metronome on hard copy sentence drills. 17. Practice to court TV programs for multivoice experience. 18. Practice briefs and phrases and try to write without hesitation. 19. Practice multivoice videos and tapes. 20. In a notebook, write down the words that cause problems and review them daily. 21. Go to a trail speed class to clean up your notes. 22. Go to class every day. 23. Read everything to increase your vocabulary. Improved vocabulary helps on the machine when you are taking difficult material. 24. Set up a practice schedule with a wide variety of material and stick to it. 25. Don't make excuses. 26. Practice consonant compounds and difficult fingering. 27. Practice finger drills and finger strengthening exercises. 28. Focus your energies on attainable practice goals. 29. Relax and write. 30. Practice little words. 31. Keep track of your progress. To tell you the truth, I could not have said it better. Thanks a lot, Cypress College students. Your success is well deserved! Carolee Freer,CRI, is from Cypress,California, and editor of CASElines.

Click here to read "Practice Hints on How to Be a Successful Reporting Student" -- compiled by Kay Smith, taken from CASElines, Issue 2, 2006.

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