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English Teaching Forum The











I s s u e 6

January 2012



Enhancing critical reading in EFL classes

Lowering the age of compulsory English education By Noamen Amara


Jason R. Levine , our

special guest for this issue, talks about teaching English through songs, ColloTunes, his new book among others.

Turn the third hour into a big power By Anissa Ben Abdallah Ayari

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A Sample Reading Lesson

Editor’s note b y

M o h a m e d

S a l a h

A b i d i

Welcome! We’re back with a sixth issue of our online magazine and we are eager to see it satisfy our readers. In this issue, we continue focusing on teaching critical reading and we are expecting a debate among the readers so that critical reading and critical thinking in general will become more popular in our postrevolution school. The third hour is still a hard class time for the teacher in preparatory schools to furnish with the appropriate activities and make the maximum profit of it for the learners. We selected an article “Turn the Third Hour into a Big Power” to make some suggestions aiming to ease matters for this group of colleagues who might still find it difficult to implement in the classroom. We have, also, included an article showing an experience of lowering the age of compulsory education of English in another country because we believe that one of the problematic areas in the teaching of English in Tunisia is “English in Primary Schools”. Interviewing an expert on the use of songs in the classroom and making the interview part of this issue will make an addition to their professional competencies. We invite our readers to enjoy the sixth issue and make us share their comments so that we can improve the quality of the magazine.

Mohamed Salah Abidi

Mohamed Salah Abidi Teacher trainer and ELT inspector in the area of Sidi Bouzid, Tunisia.

Contents i n


Enhancing critical thinking in EFL classes

A sample lesson to demonstrate how to apply critical thinking in the EFL class HECHMI HAMDI


Lowering the age of compulsory English education The Kingdom of Bahrain as A case study noamen amara

14 18

i ss u e

A roundup of online resources for teachers Online security, free online resources and free blogging platforms Tarak Brahmi


Jason R. Levine , our special guest for this issue, talks about teaching English through songs, ColloTunes, his new book among others.

Turn the third hour into a big hour

How to fully take advantage of the third hour


Anissa Ben Abdallah Ayari

The lighter side

Riddles, jokes and funny poems Tarak Brahmi

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t h i s


TUNISIAN English Teaching Forum

Editorial Review Board

Mohamed Salah Abidi Graphic Design

Tarak Brahmi The Tunisian English Teaching Forum is a free quarterly magazine.

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

or e-mailed to: For guidelines for writing articles and the latest news and notifications, please visit our blog here: http://tunisian-etforum.

teaching reading

Enhancing critical reading in EFL classes Sample lesson By Hechmi Hamdi,

Teacher of English

“Give a man a fish and he’ll eat for a day, teach him to fish and he’ll eat for life”


Critical reading is an important skill that learners should develop. The main objective of reading in a critical way is to evaluate in a reasoned and unbiased fashion what you read, hear, or observe in order to judge its validity or worth. The reasoning should be guided by standards or habits of mind that include seeking clarity, accuracy, precision, relevance, depth, breadth, logic, and fairness in everything we encounter.

Critical reading should be enhanced regularly. The ability to think critically has become an immediate urgency because a text says means and does. Learners are not empty vessels .They are capable of being creative, critical thinkers. Learners should be driven to read what’s embedded between the lines and uncover implicit bias . Critical reading is a chief skill. This brings to mind an old adage, “give a man a fish and he’ll eat for a day,

The Tunisian English Teaching Forum | Issue 6

January 2012

teach him to fish and he’ll eat for life”. Textbooks with a focus on critical reading commonly emphasize critical thinking strategies like interpreting, analyzing ,explaining, evaluation and drawing reasonable conclusions. Below ,I assigned some reading tasks in an attempt to get young learners read a text critically . I tried to break away from the usual comprehension assignments format that learners used to get.

teaching reading

Target Skill: Focus: Source: Level:

Reading Critical reading Lesson 12 : Money and Evil - (Perform To learn /Page 73 ) 2nd form

I - Now, read the text ,then do the activities below



1-Find words in the text meaning nearly the same as


 We must admit there is some truth in the famous saying :

''Money is the root of all evils".First, having much money certainly gives its possessor a feeling of superiority and selfsatisfaction that may lead to tyranny and corruption .Very rich people generally think they can buy everything even the honoured dignity of people .They are alas; often successful because money has a strong appeal and many individuals can’t resist the magic power of money ,even if they have to do the dirtiest things. Second ,if you have enough money to pay for everything you want right away, you tend to become tired of pleasure. Because you can have things easily without being really sure you like them or you need them, they start losing their values for you and you start missing the pleasures of life.

a- acknowledge: b-unfortunately: c-immediately: d-consequently:

(Parag (Parag (Parag (Parag

) _________ ) __________ )___________ )___________

2-What do the underlined words refer to?

a-“they” (Paragraph ) refers to _____________ b-“both” (Paragraph ) refers to _____________ c-“It” (Paragraph ) refers to _______________

3-Find one Pair of synonyms in Paragraph  : a-…………….. b-…………….. 4-Find one Pair of antonyms in Paragraph  : a-…………….. b-……………..

 But on the other hand ,we can also say that “ the lack of

money is the root of all evil”.If you can’t afford a nice place to live in, if you are unable to provide your family with a decent standard of living you may resort to borrowing ,cheating and even stealing to make ends meet. In such situations, some people may also turn to drinking to forget their worries and drown their misery. Some other people may even resort to violence ,crime and anarchy in order to get revenge on rich people and the cruel world.  It is clear therefore, that both plenty of money and the lack

of it are evil. They may both lead to social calamities and moral decline. A better attitude towards money is to view it as “ a good servant and bad master”.We should never let money control our lives and haunt our dreams.



teaching reading

1 -Tick the right option A -The text is an extract from … a- a magazine  b- a webpage  c- a newspaper  B -The writer is for … a- an irresponsible use of money  b- an excessive use of money  c- a reasonable use of money 

2-Correct the statements below with reference to the text a-It is easy for poor people to resist the power of money. (Parag

______________________________________________________________ b-The wealthier people grow, the more interested they get in the pleasures of life. (Parag ) ______________________________________________________________ c-The lack of money may result in many social and moral problems. (Parag) ______________________________________________________________

3-Tick  the option that best interprets the statement below “We must never let money control our lives or haunt our dreams ”(Parag/3) implies that… a-Money makes the world go around .  b-People dream of having much money to buy what they want .  c- People are always thinking of money because they are deprived of it . 

4-Complete the sentences below with reference to the text. You can make use of the words and expressions on the right. Sentences


a-In My view, people should not ________________ because money does not make happiness. b--Money is not only a ____________________ but also____________________ c-On the one hand, money___________________, on the other hand, _____________________ d-Instead of turning to alcohol to solve their problems, poor people must __________________________ _________ e-To make ends meet ,poor people _____________ ________________.

-Source of pleasure… -useful… -Source of pain and suffering… - work hard.. -gain money.. -curse… -control…

5-Explain the statements below using your own words a-“Money has a strong appeal”(Parag) _______________________________________________________________ b-“To view it as a good servant and bad master” (Parag) _______________________________________________________________


The Tunisian English Teaching Forum | Issue 6

January 2012

Enhancing critical reading in EFL classes (page 4)

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"The ability to think critically has become an immediate urgency because a text says, means and does. "

teaching reading

6-Complete each sentence part from A with another from B to get meaningful sentences about money. (Mind intonation to highlight the underlined words) Column A

Column A

1-It’s shameful … 2 –It is immoral to use ... 3-I am totally against… 4-I agree that… 5- Respecting moral values…

a- money is power b- money to buy the dignity of honoured people c- a blessing d- is a must. e- to bluff poor people. f- the misuse of money.


1+........... 2+................ 3+............... 4+.................... 5+..................

7-Tick  the most suitable option(s) for you .Say why… a-“Wealth is synonymous with evil,”lots of people say. I agree  I disagree  that’s completely wrong  b-Those who rely on others to become rich are… lazy  wise  careless  c-Those who use money to buy the honoured dignity of people should be …. tried  rewarded  blamed  d-Hearing poor people say, “we want to get revenge on rich people ” makes me… feel disappointed  laugh wonder  e-Those whose heads are haunted with money must... stop daydreaming  work harder  be reasonable  f-Saying that “money is the root of all evils” is … not always true  always true  far from being true  g-Society must firmly condemn…. corrupt people  stealers  lazy people 

8- Now ,tick  the right inferences … a -“Money haunts our dreams ” shows that.. a- life is money b-people grew greedy and materialistic c-you are worth the amount of money you have b- Saying that the world is “cruel” reveals that… a-money is the master  b-inequality is the master  c-solidarity is the master 

  

9-If you were a journalist, what newspaper headline would you choose to support the main idea of the text? Say why.

Life without money is meaningless (1) Money isn’t everything (2) TIME IS MONEY (3)

Money doesn’t make happiness (4) LIFE IS MONEY (6)

Money talks(5) Money First (7)


Be neither a master nor a servant 8

The Tunisian English Teaching Forum | Issue 6 January 2012


teaching reading

10-Supply the right words from the text to get a coherent paragraph that unveils the social chaos that money may bring about…. It is true that money has a strong appeal .It provides its (1) ____________ (Parag ) with a sense of joy and happiness .However, Poor people ,who are unable to lead a (2) __________ (Parag) life , become easy preys to social evils. Many of them resort to drinking to (3) ____ ________ (Parag) their daily problems and troubles or even doing the(4) ________(Parag ) things to survive. It is not easy to (5) _______(Parag ) the power of money in a cruel world where rich people are masters and poor people are just(6) ______(Parag) How can the needy make (7) ___________ (Parag ) meet while others are(8) ___________ (Parag ) of enjoying all the blessings of life ?Alas , (9) co_______(Parag ) and misuse of money have become common social facts. 11-For each letter, provide 3 words related, in meaning, to the harmful facet of money .Some of the words have already been provided for you. E _________ ________________ endanger_________ V _________ violence________ ________________ I _________ ______________ illegal_________ L ose ________________ ______________

Questionnaire for teachers: Please complete the following questionnaire 1-How do you define Critical Thinking? _________________________________________________________________ 2-As a teacher of English, how often do you drive your pupils to read between the lines and look far beyond single words? ________________________________________________________________ 3-As an EFL teacher, what hindrances may prevent you from developing critical thinking skills within pupils in a satisfactory way? ________________________________________________________________ 4-Can developing critical thinking skills within pupils make reading enjoyable? ____________________________________________________________ 5-What other ideas and activities do you suggest to encourage and develop Critical Thinking skills in our classrooms? ____________________________________________________________ 6-Do the reading materials in the textbooks you use enhance critical reading? ____________________________________________________________ 7-Are words like INFER, ANALYZE, INTERPRET, EXPLAIN common in the textbook you use? _____________________________________________________________ 8- Are words like INFER, ANALYZE, INTERPRET, EXPLAIN common in your reading assignments? _____________________________________________________________ 9-Should enhancing critical thinking skills be a top priority in designing learners’ textbooks? ____________________________________________________________ Thank you for completing the questionnaire



teaching reading

Hechmi Hamdi • • • •

EFL Teacher Since 1996. Proficiency certificate from Brighton University 1991. Main Interests :Test construction ,translation ,poetry Previous contributions in The Tunisian English Teachers’ Forum: -Lesson Plan based on Bloom’s Taxonomy. -Product Vs Process Writing


Britannica - The Online Encyclopedia 10

The Tunisian English Teaching Forum | Issue 6 January 2012


Lowering the Age of Compulsory English Education (page 12)


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“Competence in English will give [...] children a comparative advantage when it comes to further education and employment”


case study

Lowering the Age of Compulsory English Education Bahrain as a Case Study

By Noamen Amara, Teacher of English

“Competence in English will give [...] children a comparative advantage when it comes to further education and employment�


As in many countries in the world, the age of compulsory English education in the Kingdom of Bahrain has been lowered for many reasons. Certainly, this fact has its advantages and disadvantages, including the preparedness of schools and teachers.

There are many reasons behind lowering the age of compulsory English education in Bahrain and among them we can state that English has become the main language of communication throughout the world. And Bahrain, as most of the Arabian Gulf countries, has a great number of labor forces coming from overseas and they use English as a tool of communication with local people. Besides, "English is seen as an essential tool, either for economic and technological development or for maintaining a perceived or actual superiority in the economic and technological marketplace," as Nunan (1999) pointed out.

The Tunisian English Teaching Forum | Issue 6

January 2012

In addition, like other countries where English is taught as a second language (ESL), Bahrain's" Governmental policy initiatives are reinforced at a personal level by parents who perceive that competence in English will give their children a comparative advantage," as it is mentioned by Nunan (1999) There is no doubt that lowering the age of compulsory English education in Bahrain has several benefits. Since English language is taught "as a subject class in Primary One" according to the local Directorate of Curricular, students will have a great number of years to practice the language and have wide opportunities to learn it.

case study

“We have to carefully choose the right age when a student is compelled to study a second language.”

Besides, there is a widely known Arabic saying that "Learning [something] at a young age is like engraving [it] on a stone", which means that the "younger = better," as it was mentioned by Nunan (1999), although he refrained by mentioning that it's not always true. In addition, as in many other countries world wide, Bahrain's "Governmental policy initiatives are reinforced at a personal level by parents who perceive that competence in English will give their children a comparative advantage when it comes to further education and employment" (Nunan, 1999). We need to say that lowering the age of compulsory English education in Bahrain has also its drawbacks. First of all, students even from first primary learn English five days a week, so they have almost the same access to English as to their first language that is Arabic. Thus, pupils are compelled to master the ABCs of English while they have not mastered their mother tongue yet and this has a bad effect on the child's national identity, character, attitudes and even beliefs. Also, most of the time ,students get confused at where to start as English and Arabic are opposite at poles in matters of direction when writing or reading( English starts from left to right while Arabic goes from right to left). Further more, I need to say that I met Bahraini students who study at primary private schools who are much better when speaking and writing in English than in Arabic and who prefer to and can communicate in English better than in Arabic when they are outdoors. To conclude, we can say that lowering the age of compulsory English education in Bahrain as well as in other countries where English is taught either as a second or a foreign language has its benefits as well as its drawbacks. I, myself, believe in the "Critical Period Hypothesis" and I do believe that "learning a second language before puberty will grow better speakers of English… especially in terms of fluency and pronunciation," as it is mentioned in Dr. Joan Kang Shin's lecture in Unit 1. Yet, we have to carefully choose the right age when a student is compelled to study a


second language (in this case, it is English) so that it will not have a bad impact on his leaning of his mother language. Finally, there should be a rationale behind choosing to lower the age of compulsory English education and be equipped with well trained teachers, prepared schools, carefully monitored English program(s) and highly involved parents. References

Bahrain. Curricula, Directorate eamweaver%5Cpage11.htm -Nunan, D. (1999). Does younger = better? TESOL Matters, 9(3), 3. Shin, J. Kang Teaching English to Young Learners lecture (2010)

Noamen Amara

Teacher of English since 2001. • 2001-2006: teaching in Tunisian schools • 2006-2012: teaching in the Kingdom of Bahrain • Teacher trainer for the CAPES trainees in the school years 2004-2005 /2005-2006 • Participation in an E-Teacher Scholarship Program at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, USA, entitled “Teaching English to Young Learners,” from January the 14th to March 24th 2010. For a more detailed profile of Noamen Amara: http://teachingenglishalexenoamen.blogspot. com/2009/01/noamenmahfoudh-amaracurriculum-vitae.html



Jason R. Levine Interviewed by

Tarak Brahmi, Teacher of English

“Why are we made to feel that learning through songs is only for children?"


Jason R. Levine is a teacher, teacher trainer, writer, academic director, the founder of ColloLearn and the co-founder of Encaré English among others. He develops materials and curriculum in the U.S. and overseas for CAMPUS Education, Oxford University Press, and the U.S. Department of State. He creates original music (ColloTunes) and card games (ColloCards) for learners of all ages and cultures in English language arts, ESL, social studies, science, mathematics, and standardized test preparation. Besides, Jason makes videos and performs ColloTunes as Fluency MC. His videos and educational songs have become very popular on YouTube and Facebook. Jason is our special guest for this issue and he has kindly accepted to answer some of our questions.

Hello Jason. I’ve personally come to know you online when a colleague highly recommended some of your videos on YouTube. It was, indeed, a very pleasing surprise. Could you tell us more about FluencyMC?

MC (rapper); I was just a DJ and a fan of rap music. But as I was already creating so many ESL/EFL materials, I decided to make them into songs called ColloTunes.

The idea evolved gradually. I was a hip hop DJ and English teacher for years before I combined my skills to create Fluency MC. I'd always used music in the classroom but never my own. I think the main reason why it took me so long to start writing rhymes is that I never imagined myself as an

Teaching English through songs has been around for years. Some of the ‘classics’ were rather geared towards kids. Yet, FluencyMC delightful and expertly selected and written songs seem to be THE ‘trend’ among a much larger age group. Why are your songs doing so well in attracting such a large audience?

The Tunisian English Teaching Forum | Issue 6 January 2012


“I've trained and worked with many excellent teachers who teach in traditional ways.”

I'm so glad you brought up this topic! Why we are made to feel that learning through songs is only for children? As adults, we typically enjoy and appreciate music even more than we did as kids. Also, we need to overcome the barriers raised by our higher cognitive abilities, namely our tendencies to analyze grammar and vocabulary too much and to be overly concerned with making mistakes, not being good enough in the language, etc. Music makes this possible! But it has to be music people of ALL ages can relate to (look out for reggae and rock ColloTunes coming in the spring!) You are a musician. You are also an internet and high tech savvy. Does this mixture of skills account for your success? Do teachers and educators today have to master more than the nuts and bolts of the subject they are teaching to be accomplished teachers?

“None [...]was anywhere near as rewarding, however, as working online with hundreds of teachers and students from every country and culture.”

decks full of Collos. You are working with multinational communities and partners. How is that changing the way you perceive teaching, learning and culture? I'm learning a tremendous amount about so many things, on so many levels! For me, the only thing I didn't like about being an English teacher was that my classroom felt so limited. There were so many more people out there that I wanted to teach; and I knew they wanted better English teachers and materials. Before Collo and Fluency MC, I trained teachers from all over the world and even had my own English school in New York City for seven years. None of it was anywhere near as rewarding, however, as working online with hundreds of teachers and students from every country and culture!

I've played drums for over thirty years, but I'm certainly no tech wiz. Indeed, I had to wait until things became so simple on the Internet that ANYONE could do it. It was frustrating because I could see what I could do if I understood how to make videos, upload them, etc. Now that this part is super-easy, I can concentrate on writing, teaching, and performing. I've trained and worked with many excellent teachers who teach in traditional ways; they've had success because they know their subject matter well and effectively communicate it to their students. They possess three other characteristics as well: passion, patience, and a sense of humor.

You have recently been invited by teachers from Morocco to visit their schools. How did that happen? How was the experience?

What is ColloLearn? Could you tell us more about this project?

I'm excited to share with you that I'll be traveling to Tunisia for three weeks in April to train English teachers as a guest of the U.S. Department of State. I don't have my exact schedule yet, but I'll know it soon!

ColloLearn is my teaching approach, the name for my materials, and the name of my company. The approach is grounded in the concept of collocation (what I call Collo, for short). Collocations are high-frequency word chunks (e.g., go online, make coffee, in a good mood). ColloTunes are full of collos. ColloCards (coming soon) are card


It happened because a wonderful English teacher, Ikram in Fnidec, liked my videos and began promoting them on Facebook. This is how it all started! When more teachers in Morocco started using my videos, the RELO for North Africa, Andrea Schindler, took notice and arranged for me to visit Morocco to teach and train. Many teachers in Tunisia have been amazed by the great job you are doing and expressed their wish to see you in Tunisia. May we have the honor of seeing you in Tunisia soon?

I visited Morocco last year to teach and train; that trip, and the subsequent activity on Facebook, awakened interest in Tunisia. Through my fan page



on Facebook, fluencymc, I've connected with dozens of Tunisian students and teachers. I'm thrilled to have this opportunity to go!

“It's such a pleasure and honor to be hooking up with teachers who are helping people learn English on a global level.”

My primary goal is to train Tunisian English teachers in techniques that stimulate communicative language learning in their classrooms. A secondary goal is to inspire them to teach English using my songs and videos. I'm also hoping to have the chance to teach EFL students while I'm there. If I'm lucky, I'll get to work directly with some of my Facebook fans! Based on the high interest and motivation I've seen in Tunisia, I expect this trip to be a tremendously rewarding one; it goes without saying that it will be an important cultural exchange and learning experience as well. We’ve recently heard about your new activity book, Rhyme-on-Time! Could you share more



The Tunisian English Teaching Forum | Issue 6 January 2012

about this new book with our readers? Rhyme-On-Time is my first book + songs package for the English learning classroom. It's a PDF book (115 pages) with song lyrics, activities, worksheets, and exercises for 14 ColloTunes (plus instrumental versions) that come as mp3 downloads. The book is re-printable and photocopiable so schools and teachers can use it as much as they want to! What are your next plans after Rhyme-on-Time? The next book will be a self-study version of Rhyme-On-Time for students and then I'll publish Book 2 for high-intermediate to advanced ELLs. I'm getting ready to work on several different projects with ELTs and materials writers in Europe, Africa, and Latin America. It's such a pleasure and honor to be hooking up with teachers who are helping people learn English on a global level.

FluencyMC on Facebook

Interview: Jason R. Levine (page 14)


Photo from

"Why are we made to feel that learning through songs is only for children?"



Turn The Third Hour Into A Big Power! By Anissa Ben Abdallah Ayari, Teacher of English

“The credit, definitely, goes to the teachers who worked hard to get ready with well-prepared and correctlyplanned materials for these sessions."


When the third hour was first introduced in our Preparatory schools for the 7th, 8th and 9th grades (Middle School), I felt really lost. How am I going to “furnish” these sessions? With neither a teacher’s book nor a course book, things seemed “weird” and unusual. Knowing that “There's lots of learning in a really fun environment”, the question was: How am I going to find a sequence of activities to give the lesson a logical, motivational, smooth but above all an “enjoyable” flow?

The tendency was then to devote these sessions to “entertain” the learners, without distracting them from the core objective of class sessions i.e. learning. Indeed, learners play all kinds of language games, listen to English songs. They are also given some projects to work on and then present and evaluate them during these sessions. Students were, then, offered another atmosphere of learning where they can move, mingle, interact, chat, play, show their potential but above all, learn. And no one can deny how beneficial all that has been for them. They have become more responsible for their own learning. The credit, definitely, goes to the teachers who worked hard to get ready with well-prepared and correctly-planned materials for these sessions.

The Tunisian English Teaching Forum | Issue 6 January 2012

Unfortunately, I can’t help asking myself : is it enough? Is it enough at this time of technological advances! In this era when the world is full of “unexpected stories”? In this era when everything seems to be a threat to our stability? At this time when everything seems to disturb our serenity of mind? Now, when adults are struggling to cope with all this “chaos” around though “The Maturity of mind is the capacity to endure uncertainty»? How is it when it comes to teenagers who are in constant and indefatigable search for justifications, explanations and proofs? They are waiting for someone to “tap” on their shoulders and reassure them that everything is going to be alright! To push them a little further!


“Make sure the third hour content and shape complies with the syllabus. But give it your “touch” and let it take the learners a little “further”, "

They’re dreamers at that stage of their lives. They’re strong believers in life opportunities and want to see them in reality. They’re more sensitive. Work on that and try to make it SHARPER simply because the more they grow the less sensitive they become. It’s not a matter of lying to them; it’s all about “reassurance" that Life can be better. They’re too young and the way is too long ahead. Give this third hour the credit of being a moment of optimism, a source of knowledge and inspiration. It’s a must to make sure the third hour content and shape complies with the syllabus. But give it your “touch” and let it take the learners a little “further”, somewhere beyond the classroom. Indeed, 1-It could be an occasion to open the students’ eyes on the richness of the English language. Dealing with phrasal verbs, collocations and idiomatic expressions, will make their vocabulary larger and richer. http://oald8.oxfordlearnersdictionaries. com/dictionary 2- Make the students travel during these sessions. Take them away on a sightseeing-like tour but offer them also a journey in the target language culture. Let them know about native English speakers’ traditions and customs. Indeed, all the mentioned sites here are packed with coloring, reading activities and loads of games about different festivals and holidays. Just visit them! (videos of sightseeing tours, Christmas carols with lyrics, Halloween preparations and songs.....) htm 3-It might offer them the opportunity to feel and experience the real use of the target language. Run debates in class. But make sure to equip them with the


appropriate tools to maintain a class discussion. And never forget to tackle the topics of most interest to your learners. Here is a link to a video showing a class management and activities before and while a class discussion is on. Teaching activities - British Council BBC 4- It could inspire them. Help them grow self-confident “if others can, I also can!” .Let them read about success stories. They are great to uplift their spirits and motivate them. It might even enlighten their minds with values that might have been lost on the way I.e. Perseverance, determination, hard work, respect for yourself and your work. Prove to them that they are still the key to success. com/inspirational-stories/steve-jobsinspirational-story/ http://www.bestinspirationalquotes4u. com/people/oprahwinfrey.html 5- Let them know about people who are “sweating” for others’ well-being . There is no need to go back far in history to look for examples. The younger the people they know about are, the greater the inspiration is. Check the Kielburger’s website: freethechildren Take the opportunity to teach them life lessons and values. And no matter how short this space may appear, let it teach, show and explain life lessons. 6- Make them understand that English is far from being a mere subject taught, tested, corrected and graded. English is a “tool” to express their feelings and speak out their minds. English is the “tool” to show their potentials and abilities. So: • Listen to them they’ll teach you a lot. Ask them and involve them in any decision or idea concerning their English class. You’ll be amazed at “the maturity” with which they deal with things. • Look for 'the potential’ in them and offer them the space, time and support to help them show it.



“Success won’t always be there, for sure, but trying has always taught me something about my class, my students and myself as a teacher.”

Having put all these “ingredients” in a third-hour session, be sure you’ve sensitized your learners, helped them acquire the “I’ve heard about it”, “I know about it” and “I can handle it if it happens” behavior. You’ve prepared them to face life. Eventually, I would like to end my article by Carl Jung’s quote: “One looks back with appreciation to the brilliant teachers, but with gratitude to those who touched our human feelings. The curriculum is so much necessary raw material, but warmth is the vital element for a growing plant and for the soul of the child”. You’ll not only help a” soul” of a child grow, but you’ll also help yourself “grow” as a teacher in your “students” eyes. I’m not saying that I practised or I’m practising all that I’m preaching but I’m simply saying that I’m trying my best to practise the maximum of it. “Dare to try new things”, “give it a try”, “go for it”. This is what I hear my teacher Mr. Rachid Najar saying to encourage us to try new things in our classrooms. Success won’t always be there, for sure, but trying has always taught me something about my class, my students and myself as a teacher. Special thanks are for my inspector and teacher Mr. Rachid Najar and everyone who has trusted and encouraged me to pen and share my ideas.

Anissa Ben Abdallah Ayari

I'm Anissa Ben Abdallah Ayari, an EFL teacher in Ben Arous area for more than 11 years now. Teaching has taught me that CARING is mainly through SHARING. I’m WILLING to HELP and SHARE and waiting for ADVICE to IMPROVE my teaching and ENLIVEN my classroom.


The Tunisian English Teaching Forum | Issue 6 January 2012

Turn The Third Hour Into A Big Power! (page 18)


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“Give it your “touch” and let it take the learners a little further”


online resources

A Roundup of Online Resources for teachers Tarak Brahmi, Teacher of English

This is a roundup of online resources that I picked from the internet. The first part is related to the issue of online security: The internet has massively developed but we are also witnessing a sporadic proliferation of threats and dangers that users of the internet are being exposed to. The second part lists some useful educational websites that I found particularly interesting during 2011. The third part lists ten free online blogging platforms and references about creating a blog using the Blogger platform.

Online Security: Getting the most of the “Good To Know Campaign” by Google The only way to stop malware, infiltrations, attacks and vulnerabilities is to be aware of their nature and the measures to counter them. There are many websites that do a great job as far as raising awareness about online security is concerned: Google has recently launched a campaign called the “Good To Know Campaign”, which I believe is unique both in terms of its goals and its strategy: it “aims to help people stay safe on the Internet and manage the information they share online” through a series of ads and tutorials. What is interesting is that it is written in a clear and easy to understand (almost jargon-free) language that targets everyone and not only experts: it uses practical examples, short yet informative videos, simple illustrations and 22

The Tunisian English Teaching Forum | Issue 6 January 2012

downloadable documents in .pdf format. Link: goodtoknow/campaign/

online resources

Ten websites that caught my attention in 2011: The following websites make available handy materials for both teachers and learners of English. : Young learners can enjoy reading the story of Zack and Lil, play Brain Gain or create a Monster. Teachers can download some classroom activities, too. has also some free writing , spelling, grammar, phonics and reading worksheets for the teacher of English. has a plethora of activities for all levels. The website’s mission is to boost “efficient learning of literacy skills and word study”. It has over 42,000 spelling words with customizable sentences and definitions, free home pages for teachers and parents to save lists, free printable handwriting worksheets, etc.. is an online grammar coach that “checks your writing for grammar, punctuation, style and much more” . It instantly proofreads your text and corrects over 150 types of errors and enhances your vocabulary usage with context-optimized suggestions.

mythsandlegends is a website “for pupils, teachers and all those who enjoy stories and storytelling”. It has a collection of interesting stories and myths from all over the world to offer its visitors. Just choose a legend or story, click on the “play” button: sit comfortably, listen, read and enjoy. I love it! is “a digital storytelling tool that lets anyone easily create his or her own 3D pop-up books”. You can easily create your own 3D pop-up book and share it with other classmates or friends. is a creative simple idea that encourages learners to improve their writing skill by providing a photograph and writing hints: you can easily drag and drop words on the photograph and choose the right form of the word by clicking on the drop-down menu. is a website with an attractive interface and interesting content. It “ provides an accessible way to read, see and watch what Geography is and geographers do” but the collection of topics is also very useful for intermediate learners of English (pollution, literacy, poverty, etc..). is geared towards young learners of English. It aims at “ teaching children to read with phonics”. The reading books which offer both vocal and written are excellent for motivating young children to develop a taste for plays and stories. doesn’t only help learners improve their vocabulary through their quizzes but it also promises that for every correct answer it will donate rice through the World Food Program to help ending hunger.



online resources

Start blogging today with our list of ten free blogging platforms: Blogging is a great way to share ideas, worksheets and other materials with teachers from all over the world, to get in touch with parents and to communicate with your students. Today, having a blog is not only important but it is also easy and free. This is a list of ten free online blogging platforms that can get you started in no time. 1-Edublogs is a great choice for teachers as it “ lets you easily create & manage student & teacher blogs, quickly customize designs and include videos, photos & podcasts - it's safe, easy and secure.“ The following sites also represent an easy way to start a blog with their amazing features like tens to hundreds of themes to choose from, the ability to share anything on the web, easy social networking , etc.. 2-Tumblr: 3-WordPress: 4-Blogger: 5-LiveJournal: 6-Weebly: 7-Blog: 8-Kidblog: 9-Xanga: 10-Greasy:


The Tunisian English Teaching Forum | Issue 6 January 2012

A Roundup of Online Resources for teachers (page 22) " lets you easily create & manage student & teacher blogs."



online resources

So, is it really easy to create a blog? Yes, it is. All you need is to create a Google account. To do so, go to the Google home page, and click on the Gmail tab on the top. When this is done, you can have a look at this easy-to-follow tutorial here: creatingablog/ss/BloggerTutorial.htm Once your blog is created, do not forget to spread the word about it using social networks like Facebook and Twitter. Word of mouth and emailing your contacts are also great ways to get people to visit your blog. If you are interested in other platforms like WordPress, and if you want to take your web design skills to the next level, you can have a look at my blog http:// for ideas on how to customise your blog's theme, and how to secure and optimize it for search engines and speed: Tips to Optimize and Secure your WordPress Website: optimize-secure-wordpress-website/ CSS: A Guide for Beginners


The Tunisian English Teaching Forum | Issue 6 January 2012

Tarak Brahmi

• EFL Teacher Since 1999.

• ICDL 2008 :

International Computer Driving License • Areas of Interest Writing, Translation, Web and Graphic Design, Photography, Blogging • Co-authored "Mother Sissi & The Cozy Cat", a story for children email:tarakbrahmi@gmail.

THE LIGHTER SIDE English Oddities

How to spell "potato" If GH can stand for P as in Hiccough If OUGH can stand for O as in Dough If PHTH can stand for T as in Phthisis If EIGH can stand for A as in Neighbor If TTE can stand for T as in Gazette If EAU can stand for O as in Plateau Then the right way to spell POTATO should be: GHOUGHPHTHEIGHTTEEAU author unknown.


(See answers on back cover): 1. What always runs but never walks, often murmurs, never talks, has a bed but never 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8.

sleeps, has a mouth but never eats? What kind of running means walking? What two words contain thousands of letters? What's the difference between a Jeweler and a Jailer? A boy fell off a 100 foot ladder. But he did not get hurt. Why not? What starts with an 'E', ends with an 'E', and only has one letter in it? Three men were in a boat. It capsized, but only two got their hair wet. Why? What can you serve, but never eat?


Joke One: Marty: "He was kicked out of school for cheating!" Wade: "How come?" Marty: "He was caught counting his ribs in a biology exam." Joke Two: Dancer:"Say, can't you stretch the music a little longer -- just a dance or two more?" Band Leader:"Sorry, Sir. This isn't a rubber band."

FUNNY POEM Verbally Insane We'll begin with a box, and the plural is boxes, but the plural of ox became oxen not oxes. One fowl is a goose, but two are called geese, yet the plural of moose should never be meese. You may find a lone mouse or a nest full of mice, yet the plural of house is houses, not hice. If the plural of man is always called men, why shouldn't the plural of pan be called pen? If I spoke of my foot and show you my feet, and I give you a boot, would a pair be called beet? If one is a tooth and a whole set are teeth, why shouldn't the plural of booth be called beeth?



Visit our blog:

1-River. 2-Running out of gas!! 3-Post Office. 4-A jeweler sells watches and a jailer watches cells. 5-He fell off the bottom step. 6-An envelope. 7-One was bald. 8-A tennis ball.

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Riddles' Answers:

The 6th issue of The Tunisian ELT Forum  

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