The impact of note taking strategies in a ninth grade earth science course
Note taking is part of life and learning, inside and outside of the classroom. Note taking, in some form, will be required of students beyond high school if they pursue higher education. High school students sometimes have difficulty taking notes during a lecture and are not always engaged. In an ideal situation, an instructor would provide an inquiry approach to all new concepts to allow students to build their own model of thinking. Unfortunately, the reality is that time and resources are limited and thus some material must be delivered through lecture to cover all concepts dictated by state standards. Delivering some short lectures are necessary in order to cover all the required material, but students are not always actively learning during lectures whether or not they are taking notes. Would more formal note taking strategies and instruction on note taking skills benefit students? This question led me to my action research topic and research questions. The main research question asks what impact different note taking strategies have on conceptual understanding. Three different note taking strategies were implemented: self-generated, partial (empty-outline), and guided. Formative assessments, summative assessments, surveys, interviews, and a teacher journal were used collectively to gather data. Not only did most students prefer guided notes, but most performed best on formative assessments when guided notes were in place. While guided notes were not a perfect solution, this strategy keeps more students engaged during lecture and their formative quiz scores were positively affected.