Services for Students with Disabilities

Overview & Goals

  • Enhanced listening and note taking  strategies contribute to higher academic productivity and less stress. 
  • This seminar provides strategies to help process, retain and apply information to tests, papers and projects.
  • Aids are provided to organize and integrate multiple and complex reading matter.

Listening: A Critical Component of Learning (pie chart)

  • Listening 40%
  • Talking 35%
  • Reading 16%
  • Writing 9%

Little formal training in listening skills, although listening is the primary method of communicating. In addition, we can think more rapidly than we can speak, leaving us a great deal of mental energy—frequently, then minds wander when others are speaking. This situation become particularly acute during a lecture where we are far from the speaker, there is little interaction or involvement and only mildly interested in the topic.  After a 10-minute presentation the average listener may only remember 50% of spoken word. After 48 hours that drops another 50%.

Listening Self-Check

  • I can’t concentrate when I’m not interested.
  • I listen in spurts; tending to tune in and out.
  • I hear words, but don’t really absorb the ideas.
  • I can’t listen and take useful notes simultaneously.
  • I can’t paraphrase what others say.
  • I seldom restate instructions or directions to ensure  accuracy and completeness.
  • I rarely preview or survey the text before the lecture.
  • Stress or fatigue influences the effectiveness of my listening.

Levels of Listening (Covey, S.R.)

  • Ignoring—not listening at all
  • Pretending—using such responses as “Yeah, un-huh.”
  • Selective listening-tuning in to parts of what is being said
  • Attentive listening—paying attention only to the speaker’s words.

Benefits of Effective Listening

  • More efficient and effective communication with instructional staff, advisors & peers
  • Improved memory
  • Better concentration
  • Faster and better reading
  • Less frustration and stress
  • Enhanced academic performance

Barriers to Effective Listening

  • Stressed
  • Emotional
  • Conflicted
  • Fatigued
  • Ill
  • Rushed
  • Distracted
  • Disorganized

Rate Your Lecture Notes

Course 1: _________

__ Legible

__ Complete

__ Accurate

__ Relevant

__ Useful

Lectures: How Much Do I Learn?

  • Ask, “How much information do I learn in lecture?
  • Does it differ from one course to another?
  • If not learning much, are you trying to teach yourself outside of class?
  • How do studying lecture notes relate to completing assignments or taking tests?

Visual Learning Style

  • Visual learners need to see an instructor’s body language and facial expression to fully understand the content. They prefer to sit in front.
  • They think, learn, and remember best when creating or using pictures, diagrams, illustrations, videos, maps, and hand-outs.
  • Often, they prefer to take detailed notes to absorb the information.
  • They enhance memory by using puzzles, visual metaphors and analogies, & constructing models.

Reading and Note Taking

(Photo of open book and student taking notes on table)

Listening and Note Taking

Before you listen to a lecture:

  • Review the topic
  • Pose questions
  • Use the syllabus
  • Use the textbook table of contents
  • Use the topics, titles or major heading of the reading assignments
  • Decide on a note taking format
  • Arrive early/relax

While you listen:

  • Face the speaker
  • Listen for the answers to questions
  • Emphasize important points by printing or circling
  • Listen for signal words: however, three reasons…
  • Use abbreviations, diagrams & symbols
  • Consider: Microsoft Office OneNote 2013
  • Consider: a pen that records the lecture: Livescribe:

After you listen:

  • Review and edit: add, delete, check accuracy
  • Type or rewrite if illegible
  • Ask for clarification
  • Summarize on diagrams/charts
  • Develop questions
  • Take a self-quiz
  • Find a study buddy
  • Schedule a review session

SQ4R Applied to Listening and Note Taking

___ S = SURVEY to identify main points

  • Identify the topic of the lecture in advance
  • Survey the assignment, previous lecture notes, and text material
  • Survey study aids such as chapter objectives or introduction, illustrations, questions, summary

___ Q = QUESTION to identify a purpose for listening

  • Ask questions based on the main ideas of the assignment or previous lectures
  • Write questions to answer during the lecture in the margin of a note page or on sticky notes
  • Attempt to answer the questions by using prior information.
  • Check answers by skimming the text, table of contents and/or previous lectures

___ L = LISTEN to the lecture

  • Stay alert. Face the speaker, review your questions, and be ready to process information
  • Listen for the answers to your pre written questions
  • Visualize or imagine the concepts or examples
  • Bring print materials to aid the note taking
  • Enlarge illustrations or diagrams to help find the details
  • Take a mini break every 15 to 20 minutes

___ R = (w)Rite answers to questions

  • Use key words, phrases, and abbreviations to answer questions
  • Write answers in your own words to improve recall of ideas and facts
  • Use charts, diagrams, and symbols to organize and summarize information

___ R = Recite the answers to questions in your own words

  • Repeat, paraphrase, and summarize the information
  • Elaborate about the main ideas and relationships between ideas

___ R = Review notes within 24- to 48 hours

  • Use a white board or blank page to write answers to questions
  • Check accuracy and completeness
  • Relate current to precious lecture
  • Write a summary of the main idea or concept
  • Create multiple choice or short answer questions

Mind Mapping (

  • A system that uses images color, words, and numbers arranged in a connected, radiant, & hierarchical structure.
  • Used for taking notes, brainstorming, analyzing, organizing, summarizing, integrating, and memorizing.
  • A study aid for working with study partners.
  • Results in handling complex volumes of information, managing time, increasing efficiency and reducing stress.

The Blank Page Exercise

  • Define
  • Classify and categorize
  • Conceptualize
  • Summarize
  • Integrate
  • Organize materials using charts or diagrams

Listening During Meetings/Discussions

  • Plan ahead
  • Go to a private, non distracting space
  • Provide ample time
  • Relax
  • Use visual aids and notetakers
  • Be an active listener
  • Send a follow up email

Skills That Work with Advisors and Instructors

  • Restate to ensure:
  1. Accuracy of information
  2. Intent or underlying message
  • Review to ensure:
  1. Completeness
  2. Appropriate follow up
  • Request affirmation of intent
  • Plan ahead and take your time
  • Confront barriers: stop and take a break  when you’re tired, overwhelmed or unclear

Targets For Change

  • Identify one course
  • Identify one goal
  1. Survey or learn definitions
  2. Write a summary
  3. Pose one question
  4. Review within 48 hours
  5. Create one multiple-choice or essay question
  • Take action!