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TUNISIAN English Teaching Forum The










Teaching Speaking PAGE 22

Assessment and Testing

Testing Speaking


In this issue:

Interview with


As it is Written, So it Shall be Read— and Said!

PAGE 10 Classroom Techniques

using videos in the EFL classroom

More for those who want more

Teaching the target language or the target culture?

Will language labs promote English learning?



Issue 3

May 2010

Editor’s note, It is a great pleasure to see that our e-magazine is connected to happy times in the lives of its readers. The previous issue was published at the start of the school year and this issue comes with the New Year 2010. I hope that the contributors, the readers and all human beings see their dreams come true and live in peace and prosperity. In this issue, we focussed on a theme that is worth debate among teachers, educationists and all stake holders: Assessment. We tried to raise the issue through a series of articles ranging from theoretical approaches to evaluation, assessment and testing to practical sides connected to the theme in focus. You read in this issue about types and objectives of testing in an article written by Naoufel ZOUIDI and about how to prepare the test in another article by Tarek BRAHMI. Abdessalem BOUAFIA enriches the debate with his article about the issues in testing writing in Tunisia and I continue the debate relative to reading comprehension that I started in the previous issue with an article about teaching reading. In this issue, I have tried to shed light on the issue of testing reading. All this has not prevented us from allotting space and giving concern to other issues different from assessment. You read about students’ motivation in an article by Fathi Bouguerra and teaching poetry in an article by Abdelhamid R’HAIM. An interesting interview of Steve PEHA from the USA and a worthy article entitled “to assess the assessment” by Pedro MOURA from Macmillan English Campus in Britain open new doors for the magazine. Tarek Brahmi has made a nice selection of ads that teachers can use to enrich their course and F. Bouguerra’ lighter side page adds some fun to this second issue of The Tunisian ELT Forum online magazine. Mohamed Salah Abidi Mohamed Salah Abidi Teacher trainer and ELT inspector in the area of

Sidi Bouzid, Tunisia.


TUNISIAN English Teaching Forum

Editorial Review Board Mohamed Salah Abidi Graphic Design Tarak Brahmi

The Tunisian English Teaching Forum is a quarterly magazine issued and published by The CREFOC, Sidi Bouzid. Any copyrighted articles appearing in The Tunisian English Teaching Forum are reprinted with permission of the copyright owners. To be considered for publication, manuscripts should be typed on a floppy disk or CD that




Techniques to promote speaking and to enhance the oral test in the EFL classroom ADEL GHARBI

18 Interview

An enlightening conversation with ICT guru David Kapuler

10 As it is Written, So it Shall be Readand Said!

Using reading to foster kids’ acquisition of the pronunciation and grammar of English STEVE PEHA


Thinking about the CALL labs and the ICT experience in Tunisia ZOHRA AMMOURI

has been virus-checked. Letters, floppy disks or CDs should be sent to : Mohammed Salah Abidi L’Inspecteur d’Anglais Lycée Tahar Haddad Regueb 9170 Sidi Bouzid Tunisie

more for those who want more

A guided tour of the Internet Classroom Assistant (ICA)



teaching speaking

USING videos in the classroom



Factors teachers need to take into account while teaching speaking

26 27 will language labs promote english learning


teaching the target language or the language culture?

Getting students to know not only another language but also the target culture. FATHI BOUGUERRA

Videos in the EFL classroom to motivate learners and deliver high quality lessons


A post-conference report about the third conference organised by the Department of English in ISL, Gabes ABDELHAMID RHAIEM

or e-mailed to:

For guidelines for writing articles and the latest news and notifications, please visit our blog here:



n this issue, you can read a nice collection of articles from Tunisia and abroad. Sit comfortably, have a cup of coffee, read the articles and send your feedback and comments to the forum. Your feedback is the fuel that keeps the magazine going. So, do not hesitate to send a few words to the authors!



Prepared By Adel Ghabri, Teacher of English

Supervised By Mohamed Salah Abidi, ELT Inspector & Teacher Trainer

Speaking tests are characterized by interactive role-switching; speaker-listener. The teacher of language or the assessor asks the learner, listener at this phase, questions and they switch roles. In other language tests; listening, reading or writing tests present a set of questions and elicit a set of answers in which we want to know how well learners can read or listen for specific information or write whereas in oral tests we want to know how our students can communicate orally with their peers or other people. And to achieve this goal we should design instruments “that incorporate a number of different test techniques which will give a quick and accurate measure of general proficiency.” (Bachman, 1990) The broad aim of all these techniques is to encourage learners to speak English by giving them something to speak about (Nic Underhill, The Speaking Test). Of course, techniques vary depending on students’ levels and teachers’ objectives.


t is generally perceived that oral testing is difficult and a perplexing problem for many language teachers. The main obstacles are a lack of effective and efficient assessment instruments, time constraints and class size. In this respect, I prepared a questionnaire for teachers to study the difficulties that face teachers in giving the oral tests and how they attempt to deal with them. The survey I made showed that around 85% of teachers of English in the regions of Maknassy, Remilia and Menzel Bouzayene conduct the oral test on a regular basis whereas 15% do not do so because of either lack of time or unawareness of the importance of this test. [Enclosed is a sample of a questionnaire].


It seems that teachers need to have assistance and encouragement in trying assessment of speaking. They ought to build the habit of starting their lessons with speaking tests as this gives a clear image about how well students have acquired the language so far and to what extent they have learnt grammatical structures, new lexical items and used them adequately in appropriate contexts. In short, the accurate measurement of oral ability takes considerable time and effort to obtain valid and reliable results. In this article I will be discussing some of the techniques that could be implemented in classrooms, which all cater for assessing the learners’ speaking abilities.

The Tunisian English Teaching Forum | Issue Issue33 May May 2010 2010

I will also highlight some of the advantages and disadvantages of each technique. And in the following section I will shed light on some scoring schemes. 1. Question and Answer: This typically consists of a series of disconnected questions that are graded in order of increasing difficulty, starting with short simple questions, such as “What’s your name?” and “Where do you live?” and working up to long and complex questions. Learners should know how long they have to answer and are explicitly encouraged to keep speaking for the full amount of time. There is an infinite range of possible questions that a teacher

may use in conducting an oral test applying this technique. Generally speaking, question and answer is a very common general-purpose test technique, especially suitable for lower levels. Ask students to formulate questions, name objects, say the date, day, month and the year… Teachers may ask good follow up questions for brilliant students or just ask students to recite the names of closed sets such as, days of the week, months of the year, or seasons …. Below are samples of questions for 7th year students: Sample of general questions:

Simple questions

More challenging questions

What’s your name? How old are you? Where do you come from? What is your favourite hobby? Is it (learner’s hobby) your only hobby?

What are the popular leisure activities in your village? Do all your friends play football? Why? Do your parents let you go out with your friends? Why and why not? Can you tell me about some dangerous hobbies?

Sample of questions about meals: Simple questions

More challenging questions

How many meals do you have every day? What do you have for breakfast, lunch or dinner? Can you name some fruit or vegetables? What time do you often have dinner? What do usually have for dessert?

Can you tell me about a traditional dish in Tunisia? Is it delicious? What do you need to prepare it? What is your favourite dish? Who prepares that for you? Do all the family members gather for meals? Do you think that breakfast is important to start your day? Why and why not?

Sample of visuals that can help teachers conduct the oral test for 7th year students:



2. Discussion/ Conversation: It is probably very natural when this happens in real life, but it is bit hard for learners to enact a conversation in front of the class without being previously informed. However, the teacher can make this task easier for learners to achieve by writing some hints on the board or showing them flash cards or visuals to help them feel confident and relaxed. In a discussion or a conversation, teachers should take into account the examinees’ tone , pitch of intonation, expressions of face

and body language… which all contribute to the making of the conversation. In such discussion/ conversation sessions teachers will be able to assess how well their students express their opinions, take the initiative, ask questions, express agreements or disagreements. Here, there is a risk that one of the learners assigned to be part of the discussion/conversation session is more confident or talkative than his classmate. A teacher should monitor such a situation and give his students clear directions.

A) Sample of a conversation: Level: 9th year students Module: 2 Lesson: 4 Violence at school Strategy: Distribute these questions and ask students to prepare “a journalist-student interview” for an oral test. For the oral test we may choose two learners. What do you think about violence at school? Do you yell in the corridors? Are you allowed to use your mobile phone at school? Should students cheat in the exam? If you sit improperly in the classroom what will happen? Is fighting allowed at school? How do you call this phenomenon? How do you call students who work hard? How do you call those who respect their classmates and teachers? Are you for or against school rules? Why?

B) Sample of a conversation: Level: 8th year students Module: 3 Lesson: 5 What do you do in your spare time? Strategy: Stick 5 to 6 flash cards and pictures about different sports and entertaining activities on the board and engage 2 learners in a conversation about spare time. What do you think about violence at school? Do you yell in the corridors? Are you allowed to use your mobile phone at school? Should students cheat in the exam? If you sit improperly in the classroom what will happen? Is fighting allowed at school? How do you call this phenomenon? How do you call students who work hard? How do you call those who respect their classmates and teachers? Are you for or against school rules? Why?


The Tunisian English Teaching Forum | Issue3

May 2010

These visuals can engage learners in discussions about violence at school

Flash Cards




Eat in class

Mobile phone


3. Oral Report/Presentation: Secondary school students are expected to give oral presentations with reference to given notes, but not reading notes aloud from the chalkboard, flipchart or an overhead projector. They may use notes as helpful hints to talk about a social or an environmental phenomenon (pollution, divorce, crime, violence, suicide…). Choosing the topic is very important. It should be relevant to the aims of the programme or the needs of the learners and should contain new information to call upon the audience’s (other students) attention. In this respect, the teacher may ask some students to prepare short presentations of 5 to 7 minutes and provide them with a schedule for delivering their work. Each day, one learner in turn makes his/ her presentation while the rest of the class are expected to ask questions and discuss the topic. Here again, some of the learners will play it safe


by choosing the topic they are most familiar with. However, we may solve this issue by encouraging our students to choose topics not dealt with before and reward those who choose motivating topics. The assessor has to be careful; s/he should take into consideration the degree of fluency, accuracy, word choice and the way the presenter handles the questions at the end. At preparatory Choosing the topic is very important. schools, students are It should be relevant to the aims of expected to write short the programme or the needs of the reports about their learners. schools, towns, families, and hobbies… The time allotted should be from 3 to 5 minutes. If students are not able to ask questions at the end of the report, the teacher may do so to see how well the learner responds to such questions.

(Continued on page 28)


As it is Written, So it Shall be Read— and Said!

Helping Kids Acquire the Pronunciation and Grammar of Common Standard English Through Reading By Steve Peha,

President of TTMS (Teaching That Makes Sense)

Over the last 15 years, I’ve been fortunate to work with several thousand English-language learners. Almost all of these kids have been from Mexico. Spanish is their fist language and the language they speak at home. But I have on occasion worked with a second type of English-language learner, a type of student that I find much more interesting and immensely more challenging.


hen I first worked with Spanishspeaking kids, I wasn’t sure what to do. So I just did what I do with native English speakers. Essentially, I ran a standard Writer’s and Reader’s Workshop. With a few small adjustments, this worked well. I do not speak Spanish. But I am curious about languages and have studied a bit of comparative linguistics. So I know some of the important differences between English and Spanish that might hang kids up. I also do one other thing when I teach Spanishspeaking children, something I can actually do for almost all children regardless of the language they speak: I manage the classroom multi-lingually. Even though I am not multi-lingual myself, I can actually use any other language in the classroom— as long as the kids will teach it to me. I think of a command I will be giving frequently like, “Please raise your hand.” and I just ask a kid who speaks a little English to tell me how to say it in their language. Most of the time, I can only memorize the phonemes I hear. I don’t know the words or the grammar. But it doesn’t matter since I’m using only


The Tunisian English Teaching Forum | Issue3

certain phrases at certain times and always in a strict one-to-one correspondence with the equivalent English-language command. I focus on a multi-lingual approach to classroom management for two reasons: (1) Most teachers, and I am no different, use a relatively small number of commands to get kids to do what we need them to do. As such, there really isn’t much language learning for me to master; and (2) If I give commands in all the languages in the room, everybody knows what to do—and this, almost more than anything else— makes kids feel safe enough to take the risks they need to take to learn a language that is unfamiliar to them. So how do I do this if I don’t speak the languages the kids speak? I ask them to teach me. For example, during writing, kids will frequently say something out loud that is really interesting, but they won’t write it down, and in a minute they’ll forget it. So, in English, I say, “Write that down!” or “Put that on your paper!” To learn that direction in Spanish, I ask one of the kids who speaks a little English to teach it to me. The Spanish phrase I have been taught by kids is “Escribalo en tu papel.”

May 2010

Often I make funny mistakes and the kids laugh at me. For example, I once said “Escribalo en tu papa.” Or “Write it on your father.” Another funny one relates to hand-rasing. What I want to say is, “Raise your hand.” Or in Spanish, “Levanta tu mano.” But sometimes when my pronunciation is poor, it sounds more like “Wash you hand.” It’s fun for the kids to see me struggle with their language, and I think that helps them feel better about struggling with mine. All in all, I’ve had great success working with English-language learners despite having had no formal training in this area. But there is a second type of English-language learner that I really struggle with—native English speakers who do not speak standard English. I encounter these kids mostly in rural areas. Particularly in the South—where I have worked in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia—I have struggled to help African-American children who speak a variant of English often referred to as BEV or “Black English Vernacular”. The language I’m trying to teach them, the language of school and formal American society, is referred to as CSE or “Common Standard English.” The problem here is not that I can’t understand the kids or that they can’t understand me. I might have to get a feel for their regional accent but that takes me just a day or two. But BEV is truly its own language. It has its own vocabulary and pronunciation, and most importantly, its own grammar as well. But there’s an even bigger problem. Most of the Spanish-speaking kids I work with live in urban areas. They may speak Spanish at home and with their friends, but they encounter Common Standard English throughout their lives, primarily in school but also in the culture around them. AfricanAmerican kids living in rural areas often don’t have this environmental advantage. They live in small towns that are often highly segregated. They grow up learning Black English Vernacular at home. But they also learn it in their community. And even in their school, they may not have a single teacher in some cases who speaks Common Standard English.


So as I have sought to help rural kids like these, I have been stumped. How do I help them learn CSE when their entire environment is BEV? Without models of speakers of the target language, how do kids acquire the target language? For the first year or two that I worked with kids like this, I didn’t know what to do. I taught and taught and taught. And the kids went right on using BEV and, of course, doing very natural things like putting BEV syntax onto CSE vocabulary. So at least they were learning something! What I needed was an environmental source of unlimited models of Common Standard English. But with few, if any, adult CSE speakers in the community, where would these models come from? Then it hit me: books. Most of the books we have for kids to read in school are written, more or less, in CSE. Once I got kids reading them, and pronouncing every word correctly, and reading in phrases, and reading with expression that matched the meaning, BEV-speaking kids began to learn a little CSE vocabulary, pronunciation, and grammar. My direction to the students was “As it is written, so it shall be read—and said!” The point here is to

What I needed was an environmental source of unlimited models of Common Standard English. But with few, if any, adult CSE speakers in the community, where would these models come from? Then it hit me: books.

make sure the kids are using CSE with accuracy. For example, many African-American kids will invert the last two phonemes in the word “ask”. Instead of “ask”, they say “aks”, and what a CSE speaker hears is “axe”. So when a kid says, “Can I axe you somethin’, Mr. Peha?” I have to laugh a little. Much of the time I just say, “Sure.” But when I want to remind them to pay attention to CSE, I’ll make a joke like, “Only if it doesn’t hurt too much.” Again, laughter is always the best learning aid.


We may all encounter kids in our teaching who have limited access to models of the target language. When this happens, books in the target language can make up the difference. What we have to attend to as teachers in order to make this work are the following things: •Kids must read a lot, both silently and aloud. •Kids must decode every word. •Kids must pronounce every word correctly. •In languages like English that use a “phrasestructure grammar”, kids must learn how to phrase correctly. •Kids must also learn how to read expressively as well. Finally, I have also discovered that it makes a huge difference to help kids with prosody. English is a stress-timed language; Spanish is a syllable-timed language. True to their name, stress-timed languages use stressed syllables to cue their listeners to word boundaries. Stress also affects pronunciation and, in English, accounts for much of the irregularity of English spelling and pronunciation. For example, when a vowel sound falls on an unstressed syllable it is usually pronounced as a schwa. But if a vowel occurs on a stressed syllable, it is usually pronounced in either its long or short form. Syllable-timed languages like Spanish are considered to be unstressed. Syllable speed is what native speakers use to parse word boundaries, along with what might be considered greater “melodic” variation that often characterizes the prosody of syllable-timed languages. So what does this tell me? First of all, it tells me that when I speak English to Spanish kids they almost always think I’m angry with them. Why? Because the only time they hear such harshly-stressed syllables in their language is when someone is angry. From my perspective, I always think they speak too quickly because without the stresses my brain has been wired to listen for, Spanish sounds like an unending stream of phonemes, as though an entire sentence were somehow one very long word.

with less of an accent. Because Spanish makes only limited use of stress, all vowels get their full pronunciation. The richer, rounder sound of Spanish vowels is often what accounts for what English speakers hear as a “Spanish accent”. But if I teach Spanish-speakers how to use stress, as I do in English, they will begin to naturally modulate their vowel pronunciation to match the way English vowels sound in context. Because accent is carried in the vowels of a language, and using stress changes vowel pronunciation, Spanishspeakers who apply English prosody automatically drop their accent as a result. The same is true in the other direction. When I want to drop my English accent in a syllable-timed language, all I have to do is drop my stress.

Because Spanish makes only limited use of stress, all vowels get their full pronunciation. The richer, rounder sound of Spanish vowels is often what accounts for what English speakers hear as a “Spanish accent”.

Once again, the direction, “As it is written, so it shall be read—and said!” is the cue I give them to remind them of what they need to do. Common Standard English is right there in front of their eyes. They can study individual words, phrases, and sentences, and match what they hear themselves saying to what is actually on the page. After a few hard months of this kind of focus, I’m amazed at how much of the target language kids have internalized, especially where prosody, grammar, and pronunciation are concerned. © 1995-2010 by Teaching That Makes Sense, Inc. Used by permission. For more information, visit our website at or contact us at

One simple application of this idea helped my Spanish-speaking students learn to speak English


The Tunisian English Teaching Forum | Issue3

May 2010


Volcano eruption in Iceland

March 2010 (Reuters) A volcanic eruption in Iceland, which has thrown up a 6-km (3.7 mile) high plume of ash and disrupted air traffic across northern Europe, has grown more intense, an expert said on Thursday.

Bringing the A news into the EFL classroom

s news articles, videos, podcasts, and pictures have become more accessible and are in most cases free of charge thanks to the internet, teachers can bring the news much more easily inside their classrooms. In this section, we highlight some current events and news that can be used by teachers :It is a great way to bring “authentic material” inside the classroom while at the same time keeping students motivated and involved. Expanding their knowledge and enriching their vocabulary are only some of the obvious benefits students can reap. A good picture can also be a great way to start a discussion or to brainstorm ideas related to a given topic. For more ideas, following are some interesting links: Using CNN News Video in the EFL Classroom: TV News in the EFL/ESL Classroom: Criteria for Selection: The “Volcano eruption in Iceland” (See picture) can trigger a class debate about natural disasters, global warming, etc..



More for those

who want more

By Mohamed Souissi,

ELT Inspector & Teacher Trainer

No two sensible people would disagree about the wide horizons the new information and communication technology (NICT) has opened for its users, regardless of their field of speciality. Practically all professionals are actively using the tools of this new technology - and particularly the computers in connection with the internet - to run their businesses more efficiently and to ensure a better yield. Education, being one of the “businesses” that have ridden on the wave of computer use for efficiency reasons and for the sake of keeping abreast with the technological advancement is no exception.


ver since computers became a pervasive tool toward optimizing student learning, a fevered race to cater for the countless and varied needs of learners has been launched, and loads of computer programs and concepts have been thrown in the ‘market’. CALL (Computer-assisted language learning), CAI (Computer-assisted instruction), CATS (Computer-assisted testing services), DL (Distance learning) and ICA (Internet classroom assistant) are only a few of the many services that are available for learners via the web. ICA is a web-based classroom environment giving teachers and students a forum to collaborate, share ideas and do extra class activities in the hope of improving their professional standards and their grasp of the language they use via the internet. This virtual class – by analogy to virtual school –


offers many opportunities for teachers to assign activities and extra work for the students beyond the boundaries of the ‘traditional’ classroom, especially when the class time does not allow teachers and learners to do this extra work. From this particular perspective, the ICA can be regarded as a continuation and an extension of the usual class work. Were there no computers available in both the teachers’ and students homes, the opportunity to carry out this extra work would not be possible. What is the Internet Classroom Assistant? The Internet Classroom Assistant is an environment for online tutoring and teacher development provided by “”. It is a free non profit site and any teacher can join in and create a virtual classroom for his students to ‘enrol’ in and do the various assignments he / she would have uploaded.

The Tunisian English Teaching Forum | Issue Issue33 May May 2010 2010

A guided tour of ICA As a teacher, the first thing you need to do is create a class by filling in a form online. When filling in the form you will be prompted to suggest a name for the class. Once the form is filled in, you get a class key, and that class key has to be given to the students who are willing to ‘enrol’ in this class. The next step will be the furnishing of this class

ICA is a web-based classroom environment giving teachers

with materials for students to work on when they log in. The home and students a forum to collaborate, share ideas and page of the newly-created class will display its content. Under the do extra class activities in the hope of improving their name of the class – in crimson – five items constituting the links professional standards and their grasp of the language to the parts of the class invite the teacher to furnish them.

they use via the internet.

Conferencing: The teacher suggests topics for conferencing and leaves it to the students to respond to the topics by posting / submitting their messages.

Link sharing: The teacher googles some sites related to the topic(s) suggested and adds their URLs



Before responding to the conferencing topics, students can go to these sites for information and they can even add other URLs they deem relevant. ď‚ŽDocuments: The teacher can upload as many documents as he / she wishes to. Activities pertaining to the various skills can be added. The ICA suggests that these documents be copied from any word processor and be pasted onto the ICA document page.

ď‚? Class schedule: It contains the planned events that the teacher would like to inform the students of.


The Tunisian English Teaching Forum | Issue3

May 2010

ď‚? Class members: This link takes you to the list of all the students who accessed the class online. In other terms it is the class register or class roster.

ď‚‘Class administration gives the teacher an opportunity to find out who and how many students have actually enrolled in the internet class. The teacher can check attendance as well as the contributions made by these students.

Conclusion Computer-based activities in various environments are getting momentum and gaining in popularity among people from all walks of life. This popularity does not come from a vacuum; on the contrary it has solid foundations in all the areas where the computer is used. As far as education is concerned, computer use in the classroom has more advantages than drawbacks. Probably the strongest argument for the use of the computer in the classroom environment is that of student self-pacing. Computer- based materials can also help teachers quickly access documents addressing individual student needs, thereby improving motivation and effectiveness. Just like the internet-based classrooms, the language laboratories that are being introduced and used in our teaching but unfortunately in a trickle, derive their legitimacy from the fact that can help students improve their performance by providing them with opportunities to learn at their own pace and to seek help from resources always available when the teacher is not sometimes there for help.



r e l u p Kaa

d i v a D r e d l i v h a t i w w D e i pu terv



Interviewed by

Tarak Brahmi,

Teacher of English

An avid advocate of ICT and “a top contender in the ‘edtech’ arena”, as a colleague wrote, David Kapuler has been interested in the innovative and creative use of high technologies in teaching for many years now. Googling his name will reveal the extent to which David has been active in his speciality either through compiling great references for teachers or by contributing a plethora of interesting resources in his blog and wiki: http://web20-21stcentury-tools. . David is also a member of many web 2.0 communities like http://, ,, http://www., etc… David Kapuler was also a special guest in http://theunquietlibrarian.wordpress. com and had an interview in as part of The Teachers Certification Map’s “lessons from the field”, a series of posts featuring passionate, inspiring educators from across the U.S.A.

If I ask you to introduce yourself to The TETF readers, what would you tell them? I’m a 21st Century Educator who is passionate about integrating technology into education. I’ve been working in the technology educational field for over 10 years, been married for 5, and have 3 boys. David, I first got to know you via a series of handy booklets that you named “Blog Companions” which quickly established

18 18

themselves as very useful web 2.0 references that are downloaded by thousands of teachers and Tech specialists from all over the world. Could you tell our readers a little bit more about these “Blog companions” and why you chose to call them so? Thanks for the compliments regarding these “digital” books. The way it came about in my current district was going through a tech restructure and we were in the process of hiring

The Tunisian English Teaching Forum | Issue 3 May 2010 The Tunisian English Teaching Forum | Issue3 May 2010

compliance. Or at the very least that they check with their tech director on issues relating to safety, bullying, swearing etc. We don’t want any students to be able to post/ see anything that is inappropriate online. Depending on a district’s policy this might prevent such useful tools (Voicethread, Wikispaces) not to be allowed since there is no “true” filtering going on.

a new tech director. I was hoping to use some of the web 2.0 tools with the teachers and wanted to run some ideas passed him. At first I was going to have him just read my blog and be done with it. After thinking about that for a few minutes, I figured there was no way he would have time to look through all of it, so I compiled a book (PDF) filled with resources that could be used in a school setting. Not having any idea what to call it, I went with Blog Companion as it reminded me of a cliff notes version of my blog. What is web 2.0 and why is it getting so much attention?

You have been working with and reviewing a good number of web 2.0 tools. What are the top five tools that you believe every teacher should be acquainted with? Why? This is a hard one to answer but when I’m teaching professional development on Web 2.0, I start out with these: Glogster, PhotoPeach, Voicethread, Capzles, and Diigo. The reason for this is they all are free, are safe to use in a school setting, and each one focuses on a different category (timelines, presentation, social bookmarking, etc).

Web 2.0 is considered the second generation of the internet and how information is being shared through collaborating with others. Also, I think since a lot of web 2.0 technologies are free, this is a very viable option to school districts that are having tough times due to the economy.

Does a teacher need some special skills to be a successful ICT teacher? Could you specify them?

What made you get interested in this field in particular? I first heard the term Web 2.0 about 4-5 years ago when my previous tech director asked me to attend a webinar on the topic. It was at this online training that I started seeing the potential on how these type of technologies could be used in an educational setting. What are, according to you, the advantages of using ICT in the classroom? I think using ICT in classrooms really helps students learn on a more global scale. It shows them how to communicate/collaborate effectively. It provides up to date cutting edge technology that is always changing. Are there any limitations or hindrances you advise teachers who are enthusiastic about using ICT in their classroom to be aware of ? Well, the first thing I mention to teachers is to make sure that whatever technology they use they make sure they abide by CIPA


I don’t think a teacher needs any specific skill set to use ICT. However, I do think the teachers that thrive using those technologies are the ones that are creative and “think outside the box”. As with any teacher being flexible and adapting to different teaching strategies is a key.

ICT in classrooms really helps students learn on a more global scale. It shows them how to communicate/collaborate effectively. It provides up to date cutting edge technology that is always changing.

The idea of creating a wiki is great. Could you tell us how this idea came to you? How is a wiki different from a blog? And did you achieve some of the goals you set when you first created your wiki? To me a wiki is more of a collaborative tool then a blog. While a blog can initiate some type of collaborating via a comment field, a wiki is truly designed to be used by more than one user. The reason I wanted to create a wiki for web 2.0 technologies is because I wanted to create a place where all users could go to find their ICT type needs. I wanted to create


not only a list of links but a list of reviews as well and have others post their too. This way people are not just stuck to reading my posts but can check out reviews from all their favorite educators!! To me I was hoping to create a kind of site similar to what is for movies. After creating a successful blog and a great wiki, what might your plans for the future be? This is an interesting question and I’m not really sure. What I’d like to do is more professional development either at a conference setting or in a school setting working with teachers. I hope to continue to collaborate with Technology & Learning magazine and get some things posted there. Finally, I’d like to continue collaborating and working with all the innovative educators from around the world who has inspired me such as: yourself, Naomi Harm (, Shelly Terrell ( , Larry Ferlazzo, (http://larryferlazzo.edublogs. org/), etc... David Kapuler has a wiki with hundreds of useful tools for teachers. Nowhere will you find a more complete list and a better site for that matter. Carefully designed to maximise navigation and ease-of-use for its readers, this wiki is definitely one of our best choices for this month. Here are some of the video mixing and sharing tools that we had a look at, appreciated and thought you could find extremely useful: jayCut: great site to mix video and download Open Source Cinema: excellent site for editing/ remixing video Vidinotes: add notes to videos VodPod: house your own videos and create widget for sharing *Neo K12: great site for free K-12 videos *This site looks really promising yet inaccessible for the time being You can visit Kapuler’s wiki here:


The Tunisian English Teaching Forum | Issue3

May 2010

Technology by itself is not the answer to… educational problems. …[T]he power of technology will come from its combination with serious educational reform. Schools must first rethink their mission and structure, starting with the needs of students and a set of instructional principles, before they can understand the ways in which technology can help them. (Means & Olson (1994), quoted in G.F. Hoban, Teacher Learning for Educational Change: a systems thinking approach, OUP, 2002, p.116)




Speaking By Farida Ben Abdallah (Jlidi),

Trainee Inspector

The Tunisian Education Act defines the mission of education as a top national priority in which the learner is central to the educational activity. This is based on the guidelines and criteria which have been developed on the basis of international meetings organized by the UNESCO in 1988 and 1991. Among the main skills to stress, I ( am, in this article, interested in and ) cite the following: 1.Self-assertiveness: ability to communicate in a clear and assertive way with others 2.Competence in communication: ability to communicate in a foreign language to facilitate international contacts and to facilitate the understanding of other cultures


he learner needs tools of communication. English, as a foreign language, is for him a means of direct access to the universal thought. The use of this language in oral communication (voluntary or involuntary) allows him to grow. Moreover, when the learner uses English and its use is evaluated, he is prepared to ( and can) follow his development, which helps him interact with others. The more the learner is exposed to the language, the less it is difficult for him to hear and understand. The more the learner practices the language, the easier he finds it to speak and the better he includes useful expressions in the interaction with others. In recent years, new programmes have been published in our country , taking into account the social, economic, cultural and universal change. These programmes are giving more importance to Speaking, or more precisely, Speaking has had the value it deserves.


WHAT IS REALLY HAPPENING IN OUR CLASSROOMS? Many Tunisian teachers still find themselves working hard and facing learners who are not spontaneous or who dare not speak in class. I do not think that the problem lies in our programmes or textbooks. I think the problem is mainly related to : 1- the behaviour of the teacher in class 2- the practices of the teacher in class When a learner does not communicate or interact with his classmates or his teacher, it is because he is afraid of any of the following factors in the classroom: 1-unfamiliar or ambiguous situations 2-difficult tasks he can not prepare 3-speaking entirely in English 4-ridicule when making errors 5-teacher over correction (losing confidence ) 6-authoritarian teacher 7-tests and evaluation 8-fear of failure

The Tunisian English Teaching Forum | Issue Issue33 May May 2010 2010

These factors _ and perhaps others _ produce a learner who does not feel safe. And it is the role of the teacher to help and make him feel safe. The teacher has to have an idea about Maslow's Motivations. Here, I emphasize the necessity that the teacher respect the following needs among the learner: 1-the need for security 2-the need for social relations (learner/learner – learner/teacher) Needs of Accomplishment Needs of Esteem Social Needs Security Survival Needs

1- Survival; physiological needs: hunger, thirst, sleep, ... 2-Security; security needs: physical and moral protection ... 3-Socialization; social needs: friendship, affection, exchange ... 4-Esteem: esteem needs; self-respect, consideration, prestige ... 5-Accomplishment (These 5 needs form the basis of the motivations of individuals. They are present in all of us. They are hierarchical. One can not be aware of any higher need only when the lower needs are met. The teacher has to take into account the needs of the learner in communication (this is a way to acknowledge them) and it is on this basis that he should prepare the atmosphere and the activities to teach Speaking. By such doing, ‘Self-esteem’ and ‘Accomplishment’ are guaranteed. WHAT MUST THE TEACHER DO TO TEACH SPEAKING EFFICIENTLY? 1-First of all, the teacher must be creative not to cause boredom. 2-He must be flexible. The learner does not like the authoritarian teacher because he blocks his desire to speak. 3-He must provide a good atmosphere in the classroom. 4-He must respect the learner’s need for autonomy. 5-He must be convinced that errors are simply an exploration of meaning. 6-Most importantly, the teacher must use some


techniques to help and incite the learner to speak. Examples of these techniques are: •equipping the learner with fillers to give him thinking time •teaching and encouraging the learner to start by getting the language he needs from his peers •exposing the learner to listening activities using as many authentic materials as possible to enable him to use the language naturally.

The more the learner is exposed to the language, the less it is difficult for him to hear and understand. The more the learner practices the language, the easier he finds it to speak and the better he includes useful expressions in the interaction with others.

CONCLUSION To teach Speaking efficiently, to lead the learner to a better acquisition of the language and to enable him to communicate in a clear and assertive way with others, I think that the teacher has to reflect on his non verbal behaviour and his practices in class, and work hard 1-to establish an atmosphere of motivation and security 2-to get into context 3-not to give much importance to accuracy 4-to encourage imagination 5-to encourage spontaneity



Videos in the

Classroom By Faten Romdhani, Teacher of English

Teaching English as a second language , nowadays , is facing a lot of changes which are imposed, either directly or indirectly by the current needs of the digital era .It’s more than true that we are living in an age that is controlled in all its aspects digitally. No matter how proficient is the teacher in this domain , everyone of us feels the urgent need to accommodate oneself to one’s learners’ needs and adapt one’s teaching to the prevailing scene .Rarely do we see a learner at whatever age not carrying or using one of the technical facilities ( i-pod , mobile phone , CD player , PC , …) It is inescapable to all of us as teachers or as learners. So why don’t we take advantage from the learners’ changing needs in order to make them more engaged , more motivated ?


n this article , I would like to share with you one of the wonderful experiences that boosted my teaching impetus .I know that this is not a new experience to many of us ,but it is sharing experiences with each other , and at least for those who are afraid of using technology inside their classrooms , I want to tell them not to feel so .To be clear , I downloaded some useful videos for our learners and which go hand in hand with the official program , and I used one of the videos ( about family matters , with first forms ) as a tool to set the stage for the lesson , to brainstorm ideas and to discuss the matter (a teenager who was invited by her friend to go out and what was the reaction of her parents and the three possible alternatives to the teenager’s behavior ). What astonished me is that I did not expect such an important rate of engagement from approximately all learners and what added extreme pleasure to the lesson were their instant, spontaneous responses. I was amazed at the quick, positive responses of my 24

learners even those who were never engaged in whatsoever lesson or activity. First , all were interested to sit conveniently to watch the video clip ( though it was in black and white ) but the presence of this visual aid( using the laptop to show video clips ) inside the classroom was to a large extent motivating to the learners .Then they were totally engaged in the listening / watching . I have never seen such an engagement from the most uninterested pupil, who was usually sitting at the corner of the classroom. After watching the video clip once, most of them, unconsciously and naturally speaking, rushed in with comments. For those who found linguistic difficulties, asked to replay the video again, then a fruitful discussion started. It was a lovely experience and I’m convinced that teaching from now on , should be based on visual aids ( slides / video clips / short films / comics / cartoons ,…) brought to the learners in order to enhance learning the language .I felt a great joy myself and not to hide anything from you , I was as engaged as them .

The Tunisian English Teaching Forum | Issue Issue33 May May 2010 2010

And towards the end of the lesson, many of the pupils suggested to re-view the video. Their eyes were the mirror of their joy and utter engagement. After this lovely experience with my learners, I knew how far is it in our hands as teachers, as facilitators of the learning process to engage our learners in the lessons and to take advantage of this technological era in favor of our career of teaching. That was a touching experience and I really felt very touched because my learners taught me a good lesson and all their positive reactions were as if they were telling me: “As much as you engage us, we will be as active as you want us to be!” Even after some sessions, the vocabulary learnt in that lesson

We, in fact, are facing new challenges, it is not the scarcity of the materials that we are complaining about, it is rather the fact that we are submerged by the vast amount of information and useful resources to our teaching. What is crucial for all of us is managing our time to better choose the appropriate teaching tools. was never forgotten and they made proof of strong memory, they remembered the structure used only by pointing to them the instance in the video clip. After living this wonderful experience, I am more convinced that the present era is offering to us many facilities to make not only learning easier for our learners but also paving the way for a smooth teaching. We, in fact, are facing new challenges, it is not the scarcity of the materials that we are complaining about, it is rather the fact that we are submerged by the vast amount of information and useful resources to our teaching. What is crucial for all of us is managing our time to better choose the appropriate teaching tools. In the end of this article, I’d like to express my deepest regards and gratitude to all the staff of this e-magazine for their great effort and untiring pursuit to better inform and engage teachers in the teaching/learning process. In fact , we are better engaged in our concerns as teachers thanks to their constant efforts to engage us .Please let me express my deepest regards to Mr. Mohamed Salah Abidi for his great efforts to help us , and continuous encouragement . Last but not least ,Many thanks for our respectful I.C.T. trainer : Hadji Abdelmalek ,for his unremitting help to find


proper ways to explore the audio-visual materials inside the classroom .Furthermore , he did not save any effort to help us concretize ideas into the classroom .Well , I hope I convinced some of the reluctant teachers to use technology inside their classrooms . The first step is the most difficult one but if one tries, one shall get used to it and even not satisfied to teach otherwise.

TEIT, Teachers of English In Tunisia Faten Romdhani & AbdelMalek Hajji started TEIT almost a year ago. It is a very active group on Facebook with more than 500 members. The group shares all kinds of teaching-related resources including videos made by the members themselves, collections of articles, photos, tips, lesson plans, downloadable documents, etc... We picked some cool videos that teachers can try in their classrooms: Real English Video (added by Faten Romdhani) id=76440910504 Object Pronouns (added by Faten Romdhani) id=76440910504 What time is it ? (added by Faten Romdhani) id=76440910504 Cinderella (added by Karray Boussaid ) id=76440910504 Prepositions (added by Karray Boussaid ) id=76440910504 Lunch Date ( added by Fedwa Abid) id=76440910504 Fore more videos and resources and for the chance to meet a lovely community of wonderful teachers and educators, you can visit the group here:


Will language labs promote English learning? By Zohra Ammouri, Teacher of English

As an attempt to integrate new technologies in English classrooms, a group of teachers, supervised by Mr. Fathi Bouguerra and Mr. Abdenbi Omri, attended CALL lab training sessions at Sidi Bouzid CREFOC.


ALL lab, language lab, or multilanguage laboratory can be presented as an aid, like the OHP (Overhead Projector), the board, cassette or CD player… that the teacher can use in the classroom. It’s a pedagogic aid we are going to use in teaching language and we hope that it will be helpful. The group of teachers (trainers and trainees) followed the training on the CALL Lab software. The Call Lab allows teachers to use audiovisual aids and to provide the learners with more opportunities to increase their contact with authentic material and more exposure to English language. The lab will enable the teacher to control and check from her own computer (the server) the process of teaching a lesson or going through an activity done by the pupils each one from her/ his own computer. Moreover this tool will motivate the young learners. So I anticipate the integration of language labs in teaching English will facilitate things for the teacher and the learner as well. Personally I have a great enthusiasm for this technology in language teaching (teaching English) and I saw both trainers and trainees share the hope that the integration of multimedia laboratories in our English classes will be useful. I see at the beginning we will spend some


time learning how to master technology and the software programs (they are changing all the time) and the way we use them in the lab. An effective use of these labs necessitates the mastery of technology and the software programs designed for language classrooms. In the CALL Lab, I see the pupil will be an active agent that’s why technology knowledge is necessary for him/her. After mastering the use of technology and the software programs something more important is worth to be taken into account: The activities that necessitate the use of the multi-media lab. In preparing the activity or the lesson we should think of its feasibility, usefulness , and how it will maximize the learning gains. We must think of what kind of activities with the help of CALL Lab will foster the learning of English. Teachers need to design and update a bank of feasible and useful activities that would help them save time. With the great enthusiasm toward the use of language labs in teaching English, we should think of the difficulties and complexities (slow progress in learning the technology and the software, the idea is still foggy for most of the teachers, the problems in the hardware and the software…) but these, with patience, hard work, and perseverance, will not hamper us from making profit from new technologies in fostering English language learning.

The Tunisian English Teaching Forum | Issue Issue33 May May 2010 2010

Teaching the target language or the target culture? By Fathi Bouguerra, Teacher Trainer

‘ Language learning is also believed to be motivating when students are focusing on something other than language such as ideas , issues and opinion.’ Because language conventions can vary according to purpose, audience and culture ; it is important to raise the issue of the relationship between teaching the target language and the target culture.


he national syllabus has adopted an eclectic view that blended two different prespectives.( Dar, 2003) suggested using localized English teaching materials because they present students with real life and culturally familiar contexts. (7th Year textbook: Let’s Learn English ) •Welcome to Tunisia, p 54 • Aly’s House, p75 • Uncle Hedy Farm, p 80 On the other edge of the pie we find Alptekin ( 2002) who viewed learning a foreign language as a kind of enculturation where one acquires new cultural frames of references and new world view , reflecting those of the target language and its speakers. (8th Year textbook: Let’s Discover More English ) •London Wonders, p 23-29


•The party is on, p 65-70 •Transport, p 96-100 •Pets, p 134-138 The point is that being monolingual and ‘ culture bound’ many students develop an antipathy towards the language they are learning. It is the teacher’s role to reduce their cultural biases and to develop tolerance of foreign thinking and behaviour. Most important of all is the teacher’s neutrality at all times. He must overcome any temptation to try to prove the superiority of one culture over the other. In other words the teacher’s task is not to ‘ convert’ the students to other cultures ; the role of the EFL teacher is to help students get to know and understand different cultures because this knowledge and understanding are indispensable for successful cross-cultural communication.


Testing Speaking (following) 4. Show and Tell: Basically, in preparatory classrooms a learner shows his/her favourite object like a cell phone, doll, vase, map, pet, a picture of a pet and tells a story about such an object. A learner speaks more confidently once he shows his favourite object. A live object generates confidence and helps a learner to perform well in an oral test. Personally, I've tried this technique and it worked well as my students brought various objects to class continuously and that helped them become more confident and develop their speaking skills especially, the weak learners. 5. Role-play: The learner here is asked to enact a particular role in a particular situation. The teacher should give the learner a set of instructions at the start of the test. Situation 1: Imagine you are a foreign tourist in London, and you want to visit Trafalgar Square. You are talking to a man in the street. Find out how to get there. Or the instructions may be made more specific, to give the learner more direction and to elicit more comparable language from each learner: Situation 2: You are a foreign tourist in Britain. You want to visit Edinburgh, so you go to see a travel agent. After you have explained the situation, ask him how to get to Edinburgh. Ask about the price, the traveling time, comfort, etc and ask for his opinion. Decide how you will travel and explain why. The ability to ask questions is very important particularly in this example. The situation chosen for a role-play may be simple of an ordinary everyday event that young learners might find themselves in easily. For example, learners taking the cast in the role of a foreign visitor talking to a waiter at café ordering a drink, asking for local information, describing their needs, talking about themselves… Some examples of matching roles for young learners are: A couple meeting at a party, a shop assistant and a customer, a hotel receptionist and a tourist, a doctor and a patient, two students meeting for the first time. A complex situation has an added feature that is unusual and more challenging, especially for secondary students, an urgent message, an unexpected surprise, offer, a breakdown, a job interview or an accident. It sometimes involves a degree of suasion or puts the learner in a role that he has no experience of. Situations can be specified in great deal in the instructions depending on students' different ages, imagination, and familiarity with role-playing.


The Tunisian English Teaching Forum | Issue3

6. Re-telling a story from written stimulus: The learner reads a passage or a series of short passages silently then is asked to re-tell each one in his own words immediately afterwards. There is no fixed time limit on the reading stage, but he is not allowed to refer back to the written text again. In our classrooms we might try this technique functions as memory-reinforcement exercise for learners. Teachers can also use taped passages to save time particularly with slow readers. This technique can be implemented easier with higher levels as the learners are endowed with sufficient linguistic tools that enable them to speak more confidently. 7. Reading a blank dialogue: The learner is given a dialogue with only one part written in it. He is supposed to read the dialogue and fill in with the missing lines. The teacher asks another student to read through the written part of the dialogue while the examinee reads his answers aloud. The aim is to give the learner a clear idea of functional meaning of the missing parts. The technique is useful for getting the learner to ask or answer questions. Example of a missing dialogue: A: Can you tell me how to get to the university campus? B: ………………………………………………. A: ……………………………………………….? B: No, it’s not far. A: Is it expensive? B: ………………………………………………. In the example above, the stimulus the learner is given is an answer for which he must supply a suitable question or answer. At a higher level, blank dialogues can be constructed that require the use of more complex functions, such as suasion, excuse, polite disagreement, warning and

A live object generates confidence and helps a learner to perform well in an oral test.

so on. Of course, the time allotted for the learner to prepare depends on the difficulty of the task. Teachers should take into consideration the degree of difficulty and the linguistic competencies of each learner before he is a given a task.

May 2010

8. Using a picture or a picture story: In preparatory classrooms, a teacher of English may use a very simple technique – picture or picture story- to encourage students to express themselves freely and easily in a speaking test. The learner is given a picture or a sequence of pictures to look at. Then the teacher asks him/ her to describe, interpret, or react to the picture or the story. The teacher may help the learner if he falters or hesitates by guiding or giving him clues. Generally speaking, the learner will assume that he has already finished his commentary as soon as the teacher begins to ask questions. So, a teacher should know when to start asking questions to avoid interrupting the learner. For young learners a picture or cartoon story usually helps a lot a learner perform well in a speaking test because a visual stimulus lets the learner feel at ease and more confident. Visual stimuli are an economic and effective way of providing a topic of conversation without giving the learner words or phrases to manipulate and give back. A well-chosen picture inspires the learner, generates confidence and

The teacher may help the learner if he falters or hesitates by guiding or giving him clues. Generally speaking, the learner will assume that he has already finished his commentary as soon as the teacher begins to ask questions. So, a teacher should know when to start asking questions to avoid interrupting the learner. makes the teacher judge more easily which learners communicate best. However, with a visual stimulus, there is a risk that the learner will miss the point of a picture or a story, for personal cultural reasons. A learner from a rural area is not expected to say too much about Valentine's Day, but if he is shown a picture story about “Eid Al Idha” he might express himself easily. For this reason, a teacher ought to choose the pictures carefully as some pictures could be a demotivating factor. Although cartoons are helpful, suitable ones are hard to find and difficult for a teacher to draw. 9. Sentence Correction: The learner is presented with a sentence orally or in writing, which contains an error. He is expected to identify the error and then correct it. A simple passage with few errors could be given to young learners whereas a passage that contains several


and difficult mistakes will be suitable for secondary learners. With young learners we might ask them to identify the errors and correct them while with older ones we might invite them to offer more than one possible correction. Offering a learner the opportunity to correct his own error is a strategy that can be done in the course of every oral test. However, there is a danger that the learner starts to monitor his speech much more closely and becomes less willing to speak. The teacher may take notes of particular errors made by the learner made in the course of the oral test, and at the end present him with one or two to see if he can correct them immediately. 10. Reading aloud: This technique requires the learner to read aloud to the teacher, either a passage of a text, or part of dialogue in which another learner reads the other part. The teacher can choose passages according to the style, topic and difficulty of language desired. If the same passage is used among different learners this will guarantee a great degree of test reliability as such a test will help the teacher judge which learner performs best. Another advantage is that this technique is simple to administer. However, one might say that this technique is not authentic since we rarely read a text passage aloud. Good performance depends to a large extent on reading skills. So, if the learner has poor reading skills, he will inevitably face difficulties in speaking. There is another disadvantage that even secondary learners will vary in the degree of confidence with which they can read aloud from a written text. In spite the fact that this technique is suitable for assessing the mechanical skills of language such as pronunciation, intonation, word order and stress patterns, it is hard to mark during the oral test if a teacher does not prepare a checklist in advance.

With young learners we might ask them to identify the errors and correct them while with older ones we might invite them to offer more than one possible correction. Offering a learner the opportunity to correct his own error is a strategy that can be done in the course of every oral test.


11. Giving instructions/ description/ explanation: Implementing this technique, the learner describes an object, a system or an everyday procedure. Choosing an object or a chart that is familiar for everybody is a good way of getting the learner to produce connected discourse on a given topic but allows considerable freedom of choice of expression without requiring extensive preparation. Learners might be given a wide range of suitable topics: • How do you make a good cup of tea or coffee? • Describe a bicycle. • Describe how to prepare a favourite dish from your country. • Give instructions for using a public pay phone. • Explain how you would advise someone to look for a job. • Describe how people in your country celebrate the New Year. • How does the education system work in your country? The choice of topics can make the task more or less controlled. A question such as "Describe your favourite meal" would be less controlled as there can be a lot of possible answers compared to "Explain how you change a car tyre?” which is more controlled and requires basically one answer.

speaking test is more accurate when it is done during the process of the test itself. So if they feel comfortable testing and scoring at the same time, it is recommended that teachers handle both together. Usually, however, it is difficult for teachers to handle both. The alternative method is to determine the score immediately after the test has been administered.

12. Sentence Transformation: This technique tests to what extent the learner manipulates sentences in order to demonstrate knowledge of specific language structures. For example, a first-year secondary student is given a sentence written onto a piece of paper in the active and then is asked to transform it into the passive voice or an eighth-year student is assigned to change a sentence from the simple present into the simple past. This technique is neither authentic nor communicative, but it does allow rapid testing of particular structural areas. Through implementing this technique we will encourage our students to develop their abilities to report, rephrase and summarize.

the task, no logical structure.

Scoring: There are three important suggestions on scoring. One is to use a scoring sheet. At the left raters can number the test item. Next to the test number is a short version of the cue. At the right are at least three boxes for raters to check- the first for 2-point answers, the next for 1-point responses, and the next for "0" or unacceptable answers (Bachman, 1990). Another suggestion is to score the speaking test immediately if possible. Usually the scoring of a 30

The Tunisian English Teaching Forum | Issue3

May 2010

Testing Speaking Skills: Marking Criteria Task Achievement

3 Giving and seeking personal views and opinions in

informal or formal situations, confidence in dealing with unpredictable elements in conversations, expressing ideas clearly and effectively with a high degree of fluency and accuracy.


Giving and justifying opinions when discussing matters of personal and topical interests, effective interaction in discussion, adaptation of language to deal with some unprepared situations.

1 Active participation in discussion, but when discussion concerns complex and unfamiliar area, there are problems to follow the discussion and implement tasks.

0 Inadequate answer bearing little or no relation to Fluency

4 Fluent mastery of the language, very long pauses,

general meaning clear. 3 Clear and effective communication, a few unnatural pauses, few interruptions usually necessary but intention is clear.

2 Competent communication making themselves understood with little or no difficulty using the language to meet most of needs for information an explanation.


Basic communication, short conversations, seeking and conveying information in simple terms, unnaturally long pauses, some interruptions are necessary, longer pauses to search for word or meaning.

0 Communication full of pauses, very halting delivery.

Conclusion: Previous literature on classroom testing of second language speech skills provides several models of both task types and rubrics for rating, and suggestions regarding procedures for testing speaking with large numbers of learners. However, there is no clear, widely disseminated consensus in the profession on the appropriate paradigm to guide the testing and rating of learner performance in a new language, either from second language acquisition research or from the best practices of successful teachers. While there is similarity of descriptors from one rubric to another in professional publications, these statements are at best subjective. Thus, the rating of learners' performance rests heavily on individual instructors' interpretations of those descriptors (Pino, 1998).

In spite of the difficulties inherent in testing speaking, a speaking test can be a source of beneficial backwash. If speaking is tested, unless it is tested at a very low level, such as reading aloud, this encourages the teaching of speaking in classes. In my opinion, testing speaking skills could be a very interesting experience, as it gives teachers an opportunity to be creative in selecting the test items and materials. Moreover, it has a great impact on students by making them enjoy taking the test and feel comfortable doing so if the teacher chooses the materials that interest their students and that is suitable to their age and levels of knowledge. One should bear in mind that in testing, as in teaching, learners are the biggest asset, and like any other resource, they can be used effectively or badly.

Oral Testing (TEACHER QUESTIONNAIRE) Date: 1. Complete with information about yourself: School in which you teach: __________________________ Number of classes you teach: _________ 2. Number of years of teaching experience: _____________ 3. Grade level(s). Tick all that apply: 7th year Basic Education: [ ] 8th year Basic Education: [ ] 9th year Basic Education: [ ] 1st year Secondary Education: [ ] 2nd year Secondary Education: [ ] 3rd year Secondary Education: [ ] 4th year Secondary Education: [ ] 4. Tick the best answer. a. How often do you give your students the oral test? •Every session [ ] •Once a week [ ] •Once a fortnight [ ] •Once a month [ ] b. How many students do you call for each oral test? •1 student [ ] •2 students [ ] •3 students [ ] •More than 3 [ ] c. How many times does each student take the oral test each term? •Once [ ] •Twice [ ] •3 times [ ] •More than 3 [ ]



d. How long does each test last? •3 minutes [ ] •4 minutes [ ] •5 minutes [ ] •More than that [ ] e. Which test techniques do you use to help your students take the oral test? •Questions and Answers [ ] •Visuals [ ] •Using picture story [ ] •Other techniques [ ] f. Do you penalize students who do not prepare for the oral test? • Give them a second chance [ ] •Give them a second chance and penalize them [ ] •Do not give them a second chance [ ] •Just ignore them for the rest of the school year [ ] g. How do you motivate your students to take the oral test? • Encourage them verbally [ ] • Reward them [ ] •Do not encourage them [ ] •Just ignore that they performed well in oral tests [ ] h. I don’t see a major benefit for my students to take the oral test. •I strongly agree •I agree •I am uncertain but I disagree •I strongly disagree

[ [ [ [

] ] ] ]

5. What do you see as the greatest difficulties facing you in giving the oral test? _______________________________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________ 6. To what extent does the oral test help the teacher assess his students? _______________________________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________ Thank you for your cooperation Prepared by: Adel Ghabri

References: 1)Nic Underhill (The speaking Test) 2)Pino, B. G. (1998). Pro-achievement testing of speaking: matching instructor expectations, learner proficiency level, and task types. Texas Papers in Foreign Language Education, 3, (3), 119-133. 3)Heaton, J. B. (1988). Writing English language Tests. Longman. 4)Angela Blackwell & Therese Naber, Open Forum 2, Academic Listening and Speaking, Oxford University Press 2006. 5)Mary Slattery & Jane Willis, English for primary Teachers, Oxford University Press 2001. 6)Lyle F. Bachman, (1990). Fundamental considerations in language testing. Oxford: Oxford University Press.


The Tunisian English Teaching Forum | Issue3

May 2010


Institut Superieur Des Langues de Gabes The English Department Third Conference GABES, April 23rd and 24th 2010

by Abdelhamid RHAIEM M. A., Higher Institute of Languages, Gabes


he English department third conference on BOUNDARIES was a great success. It took place at the Institute of Languages of Gabes on April 23rd and 24th 2010. The conference was sponsored by the University of Gabes, ISLG and Wanderlust International Language Center (WILC). PARTICIPANTS More than 28 participants from various institutes and faculties in Tunisia convened at ISLG for the conference. Of course coming to the conference was not only about attending programme sessions, but a unique opportunity that allowed participants to share experiences, make new contacts and strengthen existing relationships. This academic event helped them also bone their ideas and knowledge.

CONFERENCE PROGRAMME The programme of BOUNDARIES was a rich mix of menus ranging from plenary sessions featuring many motivated and thought-provoking young researchers to intense, highly-interactive discussion sessions. The main conference schedule included six plenary sessions, each followed by a 20-minute discussion session. The opening panel speakers on Friday 23rd included Radhia FLAH GAIECH, Samar FRITIS, Radhia BESBES and Khadija GZAIEL BELLAGA, all of them are from ISLG. The speakers provided a reading of some literary works where boundaries

are crossed. The session ended with a lively and highly-provocative discussion. The second session tackled exclusively cultural issues in today’s world. Hassen ZRIBA, from the University of Gafsa, dealt with ‘multicultural discourse in contemporary Britain’ and Olfa BAKLOUTI, a teacher at ISLG, questioned the moral standards in the Global Age. Fethi BOURMECHE, from the University of Sfax, explored the situation of Native Americans after Barak Obama’s winning election and Henda BAHLOUS, from the University of Jandouba, focused on ‘social control in Post-War American movies’. The afternoon programme included two sessions. The first was predominantly an effort to re-read the post colonial discourse with one paper on the South African writer André Brink presented by Imen YACOUBI and another on Salman Rushdie by Hanene BEN MAHMOUD. Lassaad ELMAHDI’s interest was in the boundaries in relation to comparative literature whereas Hatem ZITOUNI preferred to study ‘the boundaries of the body in Fred Frost’s online work “Meat”’. The second session, however, was totally devoted to a linguistic approach to the question of boundaries. Izzeddine SAIDI pointed an accusing finger at the evaluation system which the newly-recruited teachers would face. Naoufel HAJ LTAIF clarified the view of philosophy towards a world without borders and Salah BELHASSEN stressed the inability of linguistics to locate a given word within a determined linguistic world.

Saturday began with two very different but very wellattended plenary sessions. The first offered a close reading of the fluid boundaries in modern and post modern fictional writing. Yassin NAJJAR, for instance, sheds light on the rigid conventions and elastic inventions in Don DeLillo’s writing and Abdelhamid RHAIEM provides a reading of Virginia Woolf ’s Orlando, a book that transgresses both the boundaries of genre and gender. Adel BAHROUN, from the University of Sousse, dealt with ‘desire beyond spatial boundaries in Deleuze and Guattarie’s philosophy’ and Boutheina BOUGHNIM studied the relation between philosophy and literature. The second and final session included two speakers whose papers narrowed the view on the theatre. Aida BEN AHMED compared between Dr. Johnson and the Shakespearian tragi-comedy and Dorra TOUZRI’s psychoanalytical approach delved into the boundaries between the conscious and the unconscious mind in Shakespeare’s King Lear. The third speaker, Amel BEN AHMED tried to explain the meaning of a male Pamela in a reading of Henry Fielding’s Joseph Andrews. The last paper, presented by Mourad TABOUBI, draws a picture of ‘a discipline in crisis’ by focussing on the teaching of literature in the LMD system. SUMMARY The conference agenda offered a wide variety of topics that was highly appreciated by both participants and attendees. This was due to the quality of papers and to the richness and pertinence of the discussions. Based on the number of attendees and their feedback, it is clear that all sessions were hugely popular and highlyappreciated especially those dedicated to themes with which students are familiar. These included sessions dealing with literature, culture studies and linguistics.

- Boundaries and theology. -Cultural boundaries: in a multicultural world, how relevant are boundaries to such notions as identity, adaptation, assimilation etc…? -Geographical boundaries and their significance for the preservation of sovereignty and autonomy.

COMMENTS ‘Abdelhamid , my deep gratitude to you and to all the organising members for your nice reception and great organisation , wish to see you again in future events.’

Imen YACOUBI ‘Hi , Si Abdelhamid thank you very much indeed

for your hospitality during the conference . I wished to attend your presentation but due to work commitments I could not. I hope it was a hit. See you soon inchallah in Gafsa. Keep in touch .’

Hassen ZRIBA

‘Hi , thanks a million for the conference . I found it very interesting and enriching. I have a question though : Did you choose ORLANDO for the conference; or the conference for ORLANDO? I think it was successful . I enjoyed it.’

Montaha NBIBA

‘It was very interesting’

Nesrine TL

THEMES The main conference agenda was organised around these themes: -Boundaries and their relevance to feminist criticism. -Boundaries and gender relations. -Boundaries and language acquisition, competence, and learning. -Community and the outlines of social boundaries as far as conformity/ nonconformity/ repulsion/ reward… are concerned. -Boundaries and telecommunications in a world of information flows. -Boundaries in relation to comparative literature and their impact on the tempting prospects of cosmopolitan literature. -Boundaries and literary genres. 34

The Tunisian English Teaching Forum | Issue3

May 2010

Answer to the Alphabet riddles A. The letter “Y” (Why) B. Because the “B” (bee) is after it. C. The letter “C” (sea)

D. The letter “Q” (queue) E. The letter “i”. (I) F. A teapot!

Solutions to the riddles on page 36

Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it. Mark Twain

The Lighter side

By Fathi Bouguerra, Teacher Trainer

“ What sunshine is to flowers, smiles are to humanity .They are trifles, to be sure; but, scattered along life’s pathway, the good they do is inconceivable.” Joseph Adison

A- Which letter is always trying to find reasons? B- Why is the A like a flower? C- “What letter of the alphabet has got lots of water?” D-“What letter of the alphabet is always waiting in order?” E-Which is the most self-centered letter of the alphabet? F-What begins with T, ends with T and has T in it?


(Check page 35 for the answers) I take it you already know Of tough and bough and cough and dough? Others may stumble, but not you, On hiccough, thorough, lough and through? Well done! And now you wish, perhaps, To learn of less familiar traps? Beware of heard, a dreadful word That looks like beard and sounds like bird, And dead: it’s said like bed, not bead For goodness sake don’t call it deed! Watch out for meat and great and threat (They rhyme with suite and straight and debt). Quoted by Vivian Cook and Melvin Bragg 2004, by Richard Krogh, in D Bolinger & D A Sears, Aspects of Language, 1981, and in Spelling Progress Bulletin March 1961, Brush up on your English. 36

The Tunisian English Teaching Forum | Issue2

January 2010

Funny poems

Internet addiction You know you’ve been on-line too long when... • • • •

You name your children Eudora, Mozzilla, and Dotcom. You tell the cab driver you live at http://123.elm.street/house/bluetrim.html You get a tattoo that says “This body best veiwed with Internet Explorer 5.0.” As your car crashes through the guardrail on a mountain road, your first instinct is to search for the “back” button. • You check your mail. It says “no new messages” so you check it again.

Fun with ENGLISH

Can you raed tihs? Olny srmat poelpe can. I cdnuolt blveiee taht I cluod aulaclty uesdnatnrd waht I was rdanieg. The phaonmneal pweor of the hmuan mnid, aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn’t mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoatnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit a porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe. Amzanig, huh? Yaeh, and I awlyas tghuhot slpeling was ipmorantt!



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