Connecting Research to Teaching: A Study of Note Taking and Its Impact on Student Perception of Use in a Geometry Classroom

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In the Paideia Program, Mortimer Adler (1984) states that “the activity of the mind is occasioned or initiated by wonder, sustained by interest and excitement, and reinforced by the pleasure inherent in the activity itself and by delight in its success” (p. 47). Yet, in many mathematics classrooms, the teaching methods used are contrary to each piece of Adler's statement. More specifically, teachers insist on note-taking strategies that bind and inhibit the curiosity and creativity of students. Most of these strategies involve copying main points word for word from the board, copying theorems from the book word for word, or possibly matching words with their definitions on a worksheet. One might question whether these styles of note taking are effective in fostering genuine understanding and prolonged retention of the material being taught.

Contributor Notes

Angela L. E. Walmsley,, teaches at Saint Louis University, St. Louis, MO 63108. Her interests include mathematics education and educational research.

Aaron Hickman,, teaches at Parkway West High School, Ballwin, MO 63011. He teaches prealgebra, geometry, and calculus.

(Corresponding author is Walmsley author is Hickman
The Mathematics Teacher


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