|Dimensions||8.5 × 11 in|
Edge Enterprises, Inc.
Manual and Flash Drive
|Dimensions||8.5 × 11 in|
Edge Enterprises, Inc.
Manual and Flash Drive
The Taking Notes Together Program is used to teach students how to take notes from written products and lectures. To test the effects of a software program for instructing teachers in how to teach the Taking Notes Together Program, a study was conducted with 20 general education teachers who taught a total of 338 students in grades 4 and 5. The teachers were randomly selected into an experimental or a control group. Nine teachers worked through the CD program and the instructor’s manual (hereafter referred to as the “CD group”) to learn how to use the Taking Notes Together Program. They taught the Taking Notes Together program in their general education classes with a total of 167 students. Ten teachers (hereafter referred to as the “manual-only group”) read the instructor’s manual. These teachers taught the Taking Notes Together program with a total of 171 students.
The purpose of the study was to determine the comparative effects of CD/manual combination versus the manual alone in terms of teacher and student outcomes. A posttest-only control-group design was used to determine the effects of the two methods of teacher instruction on teacher knowledge, implementation of the program, and quality of instruction. A pretest-posttest control-group design was used to compare teacher scores on their lecture-delivery methods. A pretest-posttest control group design was also used to determine the effects of the teachers’ instruction on student performance. Three types of analysis were used: a t-test, an analysis of covariance (ANCOVA), and the general linear mixed model (GLMM). All outcome (dependent) variables used in these analyses were treated as continuous variables. All analyses were conducted using a level of significance (alpha) of .05.
The teachers’ implementation of the Taking Notes Together Program was measured in the classroom after they had read the manual or worked through the CD and the manual. The mean percentage of instructional steps implemented by the CD group was 97%; the mean percentage of steps implemented by the manual-only group was 87%. The posttest (after-training) scores of the two groups were compared using the general linear mixed model. A significant difference was revealed, F(1, 18) = 10.71, p = .0042, indicating that the CD/manual combination was more effective than the manual alone.
The quality of the teachers’ instruction was measured by observers using a checklist that listed the components of quality instruction. The HLM approach revealed a significant difference between the two groups of teachers, F (1, 18) = 14.42, p = .0013. The mean percentage of quality components was higher for the CD group (M = 90%) than for the manual-only group (M = 73%).
The quality of the teachers’ lectures was measured by observers using a checklist that corresponded to the instructions in the program on how to give a structured lecture. An ANCOVA revealed a significant difference between the CD group and manual-only group, F(1, 17) = 7.22, p = .016, with the CD group earning higher scores (M = 84%) than the manual group (M = 57%) after instruction.
The two groups of teachers also took a written test of their knowledge of the Taking Notes Together Program. A t-test revealed a significant difference between the mean scores of the groups, t(18) = 3.17, p = .005, with the CD group earning a statistically higher mean score (M = 94%) than the manual-only group (M = 81%). The effect size (d = 2.2) is considered to be very large according to the guidelines given by Cohen.
The CD group teachers completed a satisfaction questionnaire about the CD program. Their mean ratings on items on a 7-point Likert-type scale (with “7” indicating completely satisfied to “1” indicating completely dissatisfied) ranged from 6.2 to 6.8, with an overall mean rating of 6.7. Teachers in both groups completed a satisfaction questionnaire about the Taking Notes Together Program. The manual-only group had an overall mean rating of 6.45, and the CD group had an overall mean rating of 6.42.
The students in the two groups of classes took a written test of their knowledge about taking notes. No differences were found between the groups at posttest. Both groups’ scores substantially improved from pretest to posttest, with the CD group students scoring higher (M = 72%) on the posttest than the manual-only group students (M = 65%). (See Figure 1 for mean scores.)
Figure 1. Mean pretest and posttest scores for the Student Knowledge Test
The students were asked to take notes from a short written passage before and after instruction. The general linear mixed model approach revealed a significant difference between the two groups of students’ posttest notetaking scores (after controlling for the pretest scores), F(1, 18.1) = 5.09, p = .0366, with the CD group students earning statistically higher scores (M = 85%) than the manual-only group students (M = 63%). (See Figure 2 for mean scores.)
Figure 2. Mean pretest and posttest scores for the Student Notetaking Activity
The students also completed a satisfaction questionnaire to indicate their satisfaction with the notetaking instruction provided by their teachers. The mean rating for the manual-only group students was 5.84 and for the CD group students was 5.7.
Working through the CD professional development program combined with reading the manual produced better results in terms of teacher implementation of the program than did reading the manual alone. This study showed that better implementation of a program is related to better student performance because the teachers who implemented the program at a higher level of quality (the CD group) produced better note-taking performance in their students. Teachers in the CD group were satisfied with the CD software program, and teachers in both groups were satisfied with the Taking Notes Together Program. Likewise, students in both groups were satisfied with the Taking Notes Together Program.
Vernon, D.S. (2006). Effects of a professional development software program for the Taking Notes Together program: Progress Report. SBIR Phase II # R44 HD41819. Washington, D.C.: National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.
D. Sue Vernon, Ph.D.
My Background and Interests
By wearing my different hats (a university instructor, a certified teaching-parent, a trainer and evaluator of child-care workers, a SIM professional development specialist, a parent of three children (one with exceptionalities), and a researcher), I have gained knowledge and experience from a number of perspectives. I have a history of working with at-risk youth with and without exceptionalities (e.g., students with learning disabilities, emotional disturbance, behavioral disorders) in community-based residential group-home treatment programs and in schools. I also have extensive experience with training, evaluating, and monitoring staff who work with these populations, and I have conducted research with and adapted curricula for high-poverty populations. In addition to the Taking Notes Together program and other programs in the Community Building Series, I’ve developed and field-tested the Cooperative Thinking Strategies Series, interactive multimedia social skills curricula, communication skills instruction, and professional development programs. I have also developed and validated social skills measurement instruments. As a lecturer of graduate-level university courses in the Department of Special Education at the University of Kansas, I have taught courses designed to enable teachers to access and become proficient in validated research-based practices.
The Story Behind the Taking Notes Together Professional Development CD
My focus for the last 30 years has been on helping at-risk youths, particularly in the area of learning and using social skills. My interest in social skills instruction began when I was a teaching-parent in a group home for adolescents who had a history of social problems. One of our major goals in our group home was to make it a safe, respectful place where the youths would feel connected and comfortable while they were learning skills to help them succeed socially and academically. As I watched their growing success, I wanted to find a way to introduce social skills instruction to more children as a way to prevent social problems. I thought the perfect place for this instruction would be in the general education classroom.
Later, as reported school-related tragedies seemed to increase in frequency and become more deadly, I became especially interested in developing ways to prevent bullying and also in ways to create a kinder, more positive classroom environment than was commonly found in public education. A common thread in many interviews with the perpetrators of school violence was not only that they suffered from being bullied most of their lives, but they also felt no connection to their school and the people (e.g., administrators, teachers, or other students) in it.
As a result, two lines of research were born. My first series of research studies focused on social interactions in cooperative groups and resulted in the Cooperative Thinking Strategies Series. The importance of creating a positive, productive learning community in the classroom was part of each program in this series, but teachers indicated that they would like more information about creating learning communities. They wanted their students to be tolerant and supportive, and they wanted a way to systematically teach those concepts and skills to the whole class. As educators, my colleagues and I wanted to help teachers build learning communities where all student learning is supported, especially the learning of students who struggle in school. Thus, we began work on a series of instructional programs focused on the classroom community. Those programs now comprise the Community-Building Series. A founding premise associated with all the programs is that students are taught to work together and help each other.
We developed and tested the Taking Notes Together program in third-, fourth- and fifth-grade inclusive general education classrooms to ensure that young students could benefit from the instruction; however, the program has since been used successfully in secondary classrooms as well. Our goal was to develop a program that benefited students both with and without exceptionalities by helping them become engaged and connected learners within a positive, supportive learning environment. In the first lesson of the Taking Notes Together instruction, students review what they have learned in the Talking Together program (the first program in the Community-Building Series) including the prerequisite concepts of participating, working with partners, respect, tolerance and creating a learning community. They review concepts and skills related to controlling their own behavior and expressing respect and kindness towards others. The next three lessons relate to teaching students how to record information quickly and succinctly during lectures, when reading, and when watching videotapes while helping each other. Throughout the program and afterwards, teachers use a framework to deliver information when they want students to take notes.
Once the Taking Notes Together Program was developed and shown to be effective, we wanted to provide an inexpensive way for teachers to learn how to use the program. Thus, the Taking Notes Together Professional Development CD was born. It contains step-by-step instructions on how to teach the Taking Notes Together lessons along with videoclips of a teacher teaching the lessons.
My Thoughts About Community-Building Instruction
After observing many students not taking notes even when cued by the teacher that the information she was about to say was important for them to know and they should write it down, I realized that many of those students had not developed strategies for listening, organizing, and recording critical information. Students complained that sometimes they did not hear or recognize cues that teachers gave and that sometimes the instructions came AFTER they watched a movie, for example. They reported that they did not know what to look for in the videotape and that they could not remember many details in a discussion after it ended.
These observations and comments prompted us to emphasize the role of both the student and teacher in the note-taking process in the Taking Notes Together program. While students learn a strategy for notetaking and some ways to recognize clues and cues about important information, teachers also prepare lectures around the main ideas and details they want student to identify and understand. Similarly, since most textbooks contain more information than students need to know, teachers provide specific guidelines about the structure of students’ notes (e.g., what topics are most important, how many details should be recorded). Teachers also give students a brief overview of the categories and details that are important for students to note in a videotape or movie before the movie begins.
Teacher and Student Feedback on Taking Notes Together
Teachers and students have been extremely enthusiastic about this program. Example teacher comments include, “The format was very user friendly, great skills for students when reading information text,” “I saw a huge improvement in their note taking skills,” “I enjoyed the program. It also helped with the classroom instruction in other subject areas,” “Love it! Love it! Love it!,” “The skills are logical, educationally sound and age appropriate,” and “I can’t believe how easy you made it for 4th graders to pick up this technique in learning. Not only did they learn a valuable strategy, but also they are so comfortable in helping their classmates.”
Examples of student comments include, “The program helped me learn more and pay attention in class and during a lecture, reading, and watching a movie,” “I liked learning different strategies and clues when I’m taking notes,” “It will help me be able to study more without writing down every word my teacher says,” “It was fun taking notes. I have never taken notes before,” and “I liked that if you missed something, your partner could help you.”
My Contact Information
Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org