10 November 2012

taking notes

About a month ago, Beth Johnson spoke at the Bergren Forum on "The social psychology of learning styles and its implications for pedagogy." I haven't ever studied education as a discipline though I had certainly heard of visual or verbal learners. One of the special things I carried away from her talk was that my inveterate note taking (some might say scribbling and doodling) was reaffirming (or elaborating, as she said) what the speaker said. I was naturally taking notes as she spoke. I was converting (repeating) her spoken words as written.


In the New York Times for November 7th, there's an article entitled "Note-taking's past, deciphered today" by Jennifer Schuessler. She's reporting on a conference that concluded a four-year initiative at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Lots of interesting stuff in the article including an anecdote about Peter Burke who sent students out from his classes at the University of Cambridge for note-taking. Clearly, they were being inattentive to his lecture. There was a conference panel on comparisons between note-taking and compulsive hoarding. Guilty, as charged.

The picture is by Charlie Mahoney for the Times and appears in the article. It's described in the paper merely as "a copy of Shakespeare's 'Othello'."

The Bergren Forum is, by the way, one of the delights of living in Alfred. Every Thursday at 12:10 pm, someone speaks about something. It's as varied as you can imagine for a liberal arts college. From GIS to African music, learning styles to quarks, butterflies to student trips in Eastern Europe.

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