How to help students take better notes

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Taking notes is a fundamental part of learning, particularly in secondary schools – but do your students really know how to do it well? John Dunlosky and Stephen T Peverly argue that the majority don’t. They outline what effective note taking looks like, busting numerous teaching myths along the way

Students need help with note taking

Despite the frequent ideological squalls of teaching, which throw teachers into new technological, philosophical and pedagogical directions, one thing tends to always stay the same: students still need to take notes.

This is because a great deal of what pupils are expected to learn is presented during class time and, whichever way the knowledge is transmitted, taking notes ensures that they grasp and begin the process of remembering the important points.

Unfortunately, in our experience, a significant number of students are not very good at note taking. Often, the notes don’t contain what we ...

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