Specialty Discussion Notebooks

L10 5

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  • Title: Specialty Discussion Notebooks
  • Author(s): Brian Elliott Smith
  • Publisher: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Collection: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Series: The Learner
  • Journal Title: The International Journal of Learning: Annual Review
  • Keywords: Classroom Guided Discussion, Student Motivation
  • Volume: 17
  • Issue: 5
  • Year: 2010
  • ISSN: 1447-9494 (Print)
  • ISSN: 1447-9540 (Online)
  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.18848/1447-9494/CGP/v17i05/47039
  • Citation: Smith, Brian Elliott. 2010. "Specialty Discussion Notebooks." The International Journal of Learning: Annual Review 17 (5): 247-256. doi:10.18848/1447-9494/CGP/v17i05/47039.
  • Extent: 10 pages


In speaking class, students are nearly always expected to use and practice their skills through a textbook, but this textbook may or may not interest the student. To raise student interest and motivation by tapping into their intrinsic motivational attitudes, and allow a bit of freedom from the prescribed textbook, a language notebook activity based on Noels (2001) was conducted in a university English speaking class. Students were instructed to choose any topic they wished, and had to research and learn about this topic in their free time, and then describe to the class what they had been learning. This activity had positive and negative results and after surveying the class, it was evident that motivation was the key factor in the success or failure of this activity. This paper will explain the activity, describe the problems encountered in implementation, and discuss two surveys that were taken gauging the effectiveness and attitudes of and about this activity by students, as well as the lesson plan’s strengths and perceived student weaknesses.