Note-taking as evidence of language processing
Danuta Gabrys-Barker (Institute of English, University of Silesia, Sosnowiec, Poland) [BIO]
This presentation looks at different ways people make notes, and more precisely, the way multilingual students do it during lectures. The main aim of the project is to observe which information the subjects notice, encode and record. The research question posed is: how much can we find out about the language processing of a multilingual language user on the basis of the way notes are taken?
It is believed that note-taking illustrates different cognitive styles of processing data on the level of content and form, exemplified by different ways of encoding. It also shows the ways in which data is stored in STM (short term memory). It could be hypothesized that note- taking being a conscious process (that is, selected by individual subjects to facilitate retrieval) can also demonstrate how information and language are retrieved from the LTM (long term memory). In the case of this study, the major interest lies in observing how information in language other than the subjects’ L1 (i.e. Polish, L2- English) is processed and encoded as reflected in the written text (the notes).
The focus of the data analysis is both on the content of the notes (a selection of information, completion of thoughts) and form (the language in which notes are taken - L1 or L2 or some other language - the use of abbreviations, the structure of a text and layout of a page, etc.). This data is supplemented by reflective comments made by the subjects on how they take notes and their critical evaluation of their ability to make notes.
The study is based on a corpus of data gathered during one semester of TEFL methodology course (teaching English as a foreign language) delivered in the L2 of the subjects. It embraces notes taken in approximately ten lecture sessions by twenty students participating in the course. The reflective comments come from a survey administered at the end of the course to the project participants.
Patron: President of Austria, Dr. Heinz Fischer
KCTOS: Knowledge, Creativity and