Arsenio’s ESL Podcast: Season 4 – Episode 132 – Study Skills – Effective Note-Taking

How do you usually make notes on audio programs you listen to? Videos on YouTube? Or even in classrooms? Do you review your notes after the lesson? If so, how do you do it? If not, why not?

Note-Taking Skills

Note-taking skills are essential, but not everyone knows how to do it. It’s not simply a case of writing down everything the teacher says. Good note-taking requires students to evaluate, organize and summarize information and is a key life skill for students to learn. Students who take notes are seven times more likely to remember information one week after a lesson than those who simply listen. There are different ways to record information, and it’s best to find the system that suits your learning style, but here are some suggestions to help.

Before the lesson

– Start by reviewing the notes from the previous lesson and look at the major ideas or specific facts that you were taught. Think of questions you would like to ask the teacher. This will help refresh your memory and get you ready for the lesson to come.

– Start a new page, and write the date.

– Organize your page in a way that suits you best. One way to do this is to draw a line down the center of the page, leaving about two thirds of the width to the right, and a third to the left. The right-hand section is where you will write your notes during the lesson, and the left-hand side is for reviewing and organizing later.

During the Lesson

– Don’t try to write down everything the teacher says. The average student writes only 1/3 of a word per second, while the average teacher says 2-3 words. Keep your notes brief. Write an outline of the key concepts, with supporting facts and examples using short phrases or sentences only.

– Develop your own system of abbreviations, such as w/for ‘with’ or use mathematical symbols, e.g. <, =, Aim to be consistent with these so that you recognize them easily when you re-read your notes.

– Listen for clues from the teacher about how to organize your notes. Often a lesson will begin with a summary of the points that will be covered. Then the teacher will use phrases to signal what’s important, e.g. ‘There are two points of view…, “The third reason is….’The lesson may then also end with a summary of what has been said.

– Organize the main point son the page in a way that suits you best, for example using bullet points, or a mind map.

After the Lesson

– As soon as the lesson finishes, take a moment to look over your notes. Use this time to highlight in color, or underline key concepts, or to write questions if anything isn’t clear.

– Within 24 hours, look at your notes again to help transfer information from your short – to long-term memory. If you’ve left a margin on the left of the page, write here key words that summarize the main ideas of the lesson. If the notes are clear, you won’t need to waste time writing everything up again.

– Regularly reviewing, reciting and practicing your notes is the best way to learn and remember them.

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You’re going to hear a lecture about language. Everything you just read will be implemented.

Arsenio’s ESL Podcast: Season 4 – Episode 7 – Life Skills – Social Skills – Representational Systems

I’m injecting a bit of personal development into this lesson! Boy, what I learned over the weekend at a seminar was unbelievably amazing. I learned so much about how human beings communicate, and since then, I’ve applied it to my life and it has worked miracles! Here are the systems.

I’m injecting a bit of personal development into this lesson! Boy, what I learned over the weekend at a seminar was unbelievably amazing. I learned so much about how human beings communicate, and since then, I’ve applied it to my life and it has worked miracles! Here are the systems.

Here are the systems….

Visual (V)

People who are visual often stand or sit with their heads and/or bodies erect, with their eyes up. They will be breathing from the top of their lungs. They often sit forward in their chair and tend to be organised, neat, well – groomed and orderly. They are often thin and wiry. They memorise by seeing pictures and are less distracted by noise. They often have trouble remembering verbal instructions because their minds tend to wander. A visual person will be interested in how something LOOKS. Appearance are important to them.

Auditory (A)

People who are auditory will often move their eyes sideways. They breathe from the middle of their chest. They typically talk to themselves and can be easily distracted by noise (some even move their lips when they talk to themselves). They can repeat things back to you easily, they learn by listening and usually like music and talking on the phone. They memorise by steps, procedures and sequences (sequentially). The auditory person likes to be TOLD how they’re doing and responds to a certain tone of voice or set of words. They will be interested in what you have to say.

Kinesthetic (K)

People who are kinesthetic (K) will typically be breathing from the bottom of their lungs, so you’ll see their stomach go in and out when they breathe. They often move and talk very slowly. They respond to physical rewards and touching. They also stand closer to people than a visual person. They memorise by doing or walking through something. They will be interested in something if it “feels right or if you can give them something they can grasp.

Auditory Digital (AD)

This person will spend a fair amount of time talking to themselves. They will want to know if something “makes sense”. The auditory digital person can exhibit characteristics of the other major representational system.

Now, let’s read the text and see if using these systems can help?

How to get your point across

Imagine this situation. You’re at your very first job interview. The interviewer asks you to talk about yourself. You look down, you don’t know where to start and you can’t think what to say. There’s an awkward silence and you start to panic. Now imagine another situation. A friend makes a comment that upsets you. In the first instance you say nothing. But then you feel yourself getting angry and you explode and tell them what you really think!
Sounds familiar? Well, you;re not alone. We all have difficulty in expressing ourselves sometimes – we struggle to find the right words or our emotions get in the way. Yet effective communication is perhaps the most important life skills, particularly at work. Employers are often looking to hire people with strong interpersonal skills; they want people who will work well in a team and be able to communicate effectively with colleagues, customers and clients. And interpersonal skills are not just important in the workplace. Our personal and social lives can also benefit. People will good interpersonal skills are usually perceived as optimistic, calm and confident – qualities that are often appealing to others.
If we are more aware of how we interact with others, and remember to practise, we can all improve our ability to communicate. Here are our top four tips.
Tip 1 Think it through It’s often difficult to come up with the right words on the spur of the moment, so give some thought to what you want say. For instance, before an interview, think of answers to possible questions or say them out loud. Even better, try rehearsing with a friend. If you have to give an opinion, pause to organise your thoughts before you start to speak.
Tip 2 Be assertive Being assertive means expressing your ideas in a way that doesn’t offend others. At the same time, it means speaking your mind without being afraid of what people might think. If you feel yourself getting angry or upset, take a deep breath and calm yourself. if necessary, take a short break from the conversation and come back to it when your head is clearer.
Tip 3 Remember to listen Too often we’re so busy trying to get across our opinions that we forget to listen to what others have to say. Communications is a two – way process, which means trying to see the other person’s point of view. Ask questions to help you understand or summaries what they’ve just said. If you show you’re prepared to listen to others, they’re much more likely to listen to you.
Tip 4 Watch your body language A lot of communication is non – verbal – more than 50% in fact. If someone has their arms folded, they probably feel defensive or aggressive. Facial expressions can tell us what a person is thinking, too. It’s important to interpret these signals, and to be aware of your own body language. Sit calmly, keep eye contact – and remember to smile while you speak.

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Arsenio’s ESL Podcast: Season 2 – Episode 52 – Vocabulary Skill – Ex – Words

Welcome back to some more vocabulary skill and I’m bringing to you today some ex- words.  So, basically words that have this notorious “ex” often include the idea of out, far from, beyond, or completely.

Example: Mt. Everest is an example of an extreme environment (far from).

Example: He’s able to configure the Rubix Cube in exactly 3 minutes and 46 seconds (completely).


Match the words with their meanings.

  1. Exhale
  2. Expand
  3. Expensive
  4. Experiment
  5. Expert
  6. Express

a. Someone who is very knowledgeable about a subject.

b. To breathe out air from your mouth.

c. To grow or get bigger.

d. Costing a lot of money.

e. A scientific test to see what the results will be.

f. To tell or show your feelings or opinions.


Make sentences with the following words: expect, experience, explain, explosion, extinct


An Easy Way To Become A Good Conversationalist

Have you ever sat down with somebody and allowed them to talk for hours and hours? Ok, maybe not hours, but up to an hour at best.  They would probably label you as an active listener.  They would probably say that you’re one of the best conversationalists they have ever come across.  But did you speak?

Maybe a bit.  Maybe not at all.

However, listening with intent and genuine interest wins people.

A story one of my Australian sidekicks gave me resonated with me and probably with everyone else whom I will tell.  At the time, back in the early 1990’s, she was applying for jobs in Tokyo, Japan.  Without a degree, it’s virtually impossible to land a job….and heading into a particular interview, she knew she would have to win the potential employer before he asked her about her credentials.

In saying that, when the day came, she sat down in his office and realized that he had pictures on the wall, which all pertained to one another.  Visualize these pictures at motels.  She immediately got an idea and said, “so, you want to own your own motel?”  He retorted, “absolutely.  How did you know?” For the next hour, this man talked about himself and only himself….because people are more interested in themselves when another listener is around.  Because of her solid follow-up question technique, he hired her on the spot without even asking about the obvious – the credentials.

Some of my executive auditing students recently asked me intriguing and compelling questions that had me talking about myself and my life; and at that time in the morning, I went from feeling sleepy, to fully alert.  Granted….these particular students are at a low-level in terms of spoken English, but how are they able to ask such in-depth follow-up questions about topics?  That’s my goal as a life teacher.  Get yourself thinking about other individuals and have that genuine interest in their life.

So if you aspire to be a good conversationalist, be an attentive listener. To be interesting, be interested. Ask questions that other people will enjoy answering. Encourage them to talk about themselves and their accomplishments.



Your Life Purpose In 15 Minutes

Start by making a list of all the times you can remember in your life that have made you feel the most truly alive and joyful.

  • 1999 – Running up the stairs of our new townhouse.
  • 1999 – First day of middle school.
  • 2002 – First day of high school.
  • 2003 – Rancho High School Marching Band received it’s first EXCELLENT rating in a decade.
  • 2004 – First ever first place in a track and field competition.

This is a shortlist of mine.  It’s time to make yours and evaluate it.  Ask yourself what each of these experiences had in common.  Make a note of it.  There’s a common element in it that brings you joy, and the thing that brings you joy is your life purpose!

Now, consider the following questions, and write down your answers.


What are my natural gifts?

  • Making people laugh.
  • Teaching.
  • Working out.
  • Personality.
  • Meeting people.


What are my skills and talents?


What do I love to do?


When do I feel the most alive?


What am I passionate about?


What brings me the greatest joy in life?


When do I feel best about myself?


What are my personal strengths and characteristics


What have others always said that I am really good at?


How do I most enjoy interacting with other people?


What would I change in the world if i could?





Follow these steps and tune into my podcast to hear what I’ve written down!