When I was in high school, I had to to take Civics. I think it was 10th grade, perhaps 9th. The classroom was the last room in the back hallway on the second floor. Awesome hard wood floors. Great wood cabinets. Tables in a U shape around the room. I sat on the far side of the room with my back to the windows. I honestly don't remember much from that class. It was the only failing grade I got in high school.
Why did I fail the class? The major reason was that the teacher forced us to take notes a specific way. We were I.B. students. We knew, or we thought we know, how to take notes. I was stubborn and refused to change my note taking strategy to fit this teacher's ideas.
Now I teach an AVID class. One of the key elements of this class is Cornell Notes. When I teach Cornell Notes to my incoming 6th graders, I tell them the story of my high school Civics class. I tell them that if they have a way to take notes that is better for them than Cornell Notes, they should use it.
I model all the note taking we do in class with Cornell Notes. I also model the use of Cornell Notes in other activities.
I think that I differ in the way I use Cornell Notes from the way they are supposed to be used. In the notes section on the right, I allow my students to put in a Thinking Map, a drawing, a word cloud, or simple outline format notes. Heck, if I believed in using glue in my classroom, I'd let them glue in words cut from a magazine.
The students in my school don't really know how to play the game of education. (That could be a blog post on it's own.) They haven't been exposed to note taking systems. The don't know how to use their notes to their advantage.
So, do I feel bad teaching the AVID students to take Cornell Notes? Not really. If they have a better way, they should use it. In addition, the Cornell Notes are a frame. They can fill in the parts with what they see fit.