OPINION: Teachers should not force students to take notes using the Cornell Notes method


KennedyRose Stiver

Teaching students to solely use the Cornell note taking method can have a negative impact on grades.

In the classroom, note-taking is essential to master. However, many SCHS teachers instruct their students specifically to take Cornell Notes. This is a style of note-taking where students divide their paper into two sections, devoting a third of space to the left of the paper and two-thirds of space to the right. Notes are taken on the right, and questions are written on the left. A brief summary of the notes should be written at the bottom. While this style of note-taking is not bad, teachers should not limit their students to exclusively taking Cornell Notes and prohibiting other styles.

All students differ from one another as do their learning styles. Though there are people who benefit from taking Cornell Notes, there are students who prefer other methods, such as the box and bullet method, or the outline method. Students should not be limited to just one method, especially if it does not foster their learning style.

When instructors prevent students from using other styles of note-taking, it often forces students into a “box,” where they are unable to learn the material and absorb information to the best of their ability. This can negatively impact their grades.

If the Cornell Notes style does not work for someone, they will either have a difficult time learning or have to put in extra work outside of class to make sure they are able to understand the lesson. This potential negative effect on one’s grades or the extra effort could be prevented if students are allowed to take notes using their own style.

Some may argue that Cornell Notes have been proven to help students retain information. While this can be the case, that does not make it the only method of note-taking. Cornell Notes are only one style that may work for some people, but there are others who have a hard time learning when taking them.

One size fits all rarely fits all, and this is certainly the case with Cornell Notes. Teachers should not force all students to take Cornell Notes when they are not beneficial to everyone. Students should be able to take notes that best fit their learning style in order to be successful.