Taking Notes in English – Part 7 of 7: Get to Know your Teacher’s Lecture Style

This is the final video in my series on taking notes in English. I think parts 1 to 6 covered the most important points you need to know. This short post is a kind of “plus alpha” for you. If you listen to the same person give lectures many times, the information here may be of use. I’m going to talk briefly about the individual lecture style of teachers.

Teachers or instructors present their lectures in a variety of styles. Some might use slides. Some might prepare slide handouts. Some write on the whiteboard or blackboard. A few might use the overhead projector. Others might break up their lectures with activities. And some might just… talk. They might ask you questions every few minutes, or they might talk for a long time without breaks. They might provide you with pre-made lecture notes, or if you’re lucky – a video or audio recording of the lecture so that you can listen or watch it again.

Not all teachers are going to use a lecture style that you like. If a teacher’s lecture style is not ideal for you, it’s fine if you make requests to your teacher. Your teacher’s job, after all, is to help you learn. So requests are usually accepted positively, but be clear about what you want them to do and why.

However, do keep a few things in mind. First, teachers are typically very busy people. They might want to help you learn by providing you with a wide variety of materials and teaching methods, but they simply may not have time. Second, the teaching style of any individual teacher is related a lot to their personality and preferences, so they may not be able or willing to change. Finally, it’s important to know that learners have different learning styles and preferences, too. So what you don’t like, may be very much appreciated by another classmate, and visa versa.

It’s probably a good idea, then, for you to try get used to your teacher’s lecturing style. The first day of any course you take is usually very important – you typically get a syllabus and the teacher talks about the class. If you think there is something important that you didn’t understand, be sure to ask for clarification. You can talk to your classmates, too.

Lectures usually don’t start until the second class at universities. If you’re not sure what is important to take notes on when listening to the first lecture, just ask your teacher. If you’re not sure if the notes you took during the lecture are good enough, approach your teacher and show them your notes. Not many people do this because they’re embarrassed. But actually, this is one of the best things you can do. Most teachers will be impressed that you are concerned enough to ask. Try to do this early in the course, though. If you ask your teacher for feedback half-way through the course or later, the teacher might wonder why you waited so long.

If you are having trouble following a teacher’s lecture, ask if you can record it so that you can listen to it again later. Teachers might not want you to video record their lectures, but some will not mind if you make an audio recording. Don’t forget to ask for permission first – always!

OK. I’ve talked about note-taking tools, the verbal and non-verbal cues that lecturers use, different note-taking systems, using abbreviations when taking notes, reviewing and previewing your notes, and lecture styles. Don’t expect to be an expert note-taker right away after reading and watching the videos in this series.

But if you gradually start to apply the information I’ve presented, you should notice some improvements. If you do, please let me know in the comment section below. And if you have any additional note-taking tips for listening to English-language lectures, I’d love to read them, and I’m sure other English language learners would be interested as well.

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