I ran across a great round-up of research on note-taking this morning, in Nik Peachey’s EdTech & ELT Newsletter. The author, Jennifer Gonzales at Cult of Pedagogy, goes through what seems to be the best practices in note-taking today, with links to studies to support her points. As you may suspect, students learn better when they take notes by hand, and they do even better when educators give them time to consolidate their notes, and when they provide students’ with guided note-taking pages. Scaffolding, peer-work, and other methods are also helpful.

The challenge, I’ve found, is in getting students to actually do note-taking. Guiding them through how to do it, showing them fun videos on the Cornell method, making note-taking a part of the participation grade, and so forth only go so far. The students coming through my classroom in the university ESL prep department seem to think taking a picture of the whiteboard with their phones counts as note-taking, if they even do that. When I used to teach elective classes in Seoul, I had great success with note-taking because I made all my tests open-note. For ESL classes, that’s a hard sell to the administration.

As always, the struggle continues.