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What is steno theory?

The language of steno is based on the sounds making up words, technically called phonemes.  We just call them sounds.  We write words by sound and sometimes by spelling.  For example "knit" is written on the steno machine as "NIT" because the "k" is silent. Your brain processes sound-waves into words.  Once you learn how to stroke the keys with your fingers, you learn key combinations for all sounds, like the initial "TPH" for the initial "N" sound.   You learn which keys output punctuation.   You learn some "briefs" for some phrases and frequently spoken words, like "T" for "the."  


There are about 10 different steno theories, and they all lead you successfully to writing steno.  What differs theories is their approaches to writing homonym conflicts, punctuation, and briefs.   Can you memorize tons of briefs?  Do you prefer to write phonetically?  Either way is fine!  


Hardeman School believes that all good theories should adhere to NCRA General Guidelines and Minimum Standards for steno theories.  Some theories lack a couple of the elements listed.  The Guidelines are listed here


We rely on the knowledge and experience of steno teachers who are also court reporting and captioning professionals, which sets us apart from many schools. Currently, Hardeman School of Court Reporting and Captioning is teaching the StenEd Realtime Theory, modified by Gayl Hardeman to incorporate concepts she has found to work better in the field.  

StenEd Realtime Theory (Hardeman-Modified)

A popular, conflict-free theory.  Gayl has updated portions of the theory for greater ease in writing and word-building on the fly.  Logical and pedagogically sound.  Books are available here .


Class Sessions and Practice Labs

All theory students meet with their instructor and fellow classmates for six hours per week, and they practice (with readbacks) ten hours per week on their own and in online labs that are available 24/7.


Two weekly three-hour live classes with an instructor (6 hours/week).

Cost: $350/mo (The course is designed for completion in 2 to 2.5 years.)

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