Guided Notes: An Interactive Method for Success in Secondary and College Mathematics Classrooms

By Montis, Kristine K. | Focus on Learning Problems in Mathematics, Summer 2007 | Go to article overview

Guided Notes: An Interactive Method for Success in Secondary and College Mathematics Classrooms


Montis, Kristine K., Focus on Learning Problems in Mathematics


Abstract

This paper reports the results of an action research project that examined the use of interactive guided notes in two sections of freshman level college algebra. This method unifies lecture, in-class guided practice, and cooperative learning into the students' note taking. Student success and satisfaction were dramatically higher in the course sections using the guided notes. The use of guided notes also made it possible to include discussion, inquiry, and group problem solving in a course that is otherwise taught entirely by lecture. The paper also describes how the author used principles from concept and information mapping to inform the development of the guided notes.

Introduction

In mathematics classrooms at the secondary and college level there are institutional norms and policies that hinder the process of changing to reform-based practices (McDuffie & Graeber, 2003). One of the most entrenched norms found in these classrooms is the emphasis on traditional lecture and student note-taking format. This paper reports the results of an action research project on the use of interactive guided notes as an alternative to the traditional lecture method. The paper also reflects on how this process improved student success and satisfaction in freshman level college mathematics courses and supported the inclusion of discussion, inquiry, and group problem solving into courses that are otherwise taught entirely by lecture. In conclusion, this paper suggests possible ways to encourage the use of guided notes in mathematics courses at the secondary and post-secondary levels and discusses the need for ongoing inquiry into the effectiveness of instructional methods and educational policies as the culture in which they function continues to change rapidly.

Action research is a form of investigation designed for use by teachers to solve problems and improve professional practices in their own classrooms. Action research involves systematic observations and data collection, which can then be used by the practitioner-researcher in reflection, decision making and the development of more effective classroom strategies (Parsons & Brown, 2002).

The problem addressed by this action research project was the high failure rate in freshman level mathematics classes at a small state university campus in the Midwest. One project had already created a mathematics learning center with developmental courses and required labs for incoming freshmen placed in the program using the placement test developed for this purpose by the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MinnSCU) Center for Teaching and Learning. While participation in the math learning center by these students significantly improved their subsequent success rate in college algebra, there were still 20-30% of the students who were unable to successfully complete college algebra on their first try.

The impetus for this action research project came from reading the observations of others studying typical mathematics lessons in Japan and Germany as well as personal observations of how student note taking actually interfered with student interaction and learning in the classroom. Trelfa (1998) notes that in all levels of Japanese schools mathematics is normally taught, not directly from the textbook, but from "printouts" that the instructor makes for each class. The printout, or worksheet, contains the lesson objectives and problems related to each day's lesson. These are typically clear and well organized in order to help students follow the lecture, study and review. They are not typically graded by the teachers but rather kept by the students for reference and review purposes.

Additionally, the following four classroom observations contributed to my interest in the development of guided notes of freshman college mathematics courses. First, many students are often unable to write coherent notes while at the same time listening to and thinking about what the instructor is saying. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Guided Notes: An Interactive Method for Success in Secondary and College Mathematics Classrooms
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.