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English Teaching Forum The












THE TUNISIAN REVOLUTION Teaching reading using the “Jigsaw technique”

teaching vocabulary and grammar through songs and chants

Process and product writing in the efl classroom

reading vs the internet

Do Rules Rule?


ProDuct and process writing

By Faten Romdhani

By Hechmi Hamdi

By Noamen Amara

By Steve Peha Learning to Punctuate with Real Books Not Rule Books. I s s u e 5

Larry Ferlazzo talks about his famous “Websites of the Day” blog, the Family Literary Project, his two recent books and more...

April 2011

By Belgacem Hamdi

Editor’s note Tunisians have struggled for their dignity and liberty and the spark of the revolution, which started in the area of Sidi Bouzid, has opened doors for human beings in the Arab countries and all over the world to dethrone the dictators who deprive them from elementary rights. Like everybody in the country, we have been concerned with what has been going on in our country and we postponed the publishing of this issue to a more appropriate time. Now, we think it a happy moment for the magazine to reappear and open its pages to free pens and help in the development of critical thinking, which we believe is the corner stone of any reliable teaching. In this issue, we read two articles on product and process writing: one by an ELT Inspector Belgacem HAMDI and the other is by a Senior EFL Teacher Hachmi HAMDI. Steve PEHA, president of TTMS, focuses on one of the mechanical aspects of writing: punctuation and suggests a new approach how to teach it. The contribution of Noaman AMARA, a Tunisian teacher in the Gulf, is an article on teaching grammar and vocabulary through songs and chants. Added to all this wealth of ideas, Tarek BRAHMI’s special guest in this issue is Larry FERLAZZO, who will necessarily make an addition to the pedagogical valise of any reflective teacher. Tarek has, also, considered the teaching of reading and shares ideas on the technique of “Jigsaw reading” with the readers of this issue. Mme. Faten ROMDHANI, EFL Teacher in the area of Nabeul and a friend of the forum and the magazine writes an elegant article about the importance of reading in an era when the reign is for the Internet rather than the paper book. We haven’t forgotten to include some visuals in this issue to show the beauty of Tunisia and illustrate some demonstrations of our people during the revolution of December 17th, 2010.

Mohamed Salah Abidi Mohamed Salah Abidi Teacher trainer and ELT inspector in the area of

Sidi Bouzid, Tunisia.

Contents 4 8


Process and product writing in the efl classes A practical application of process writing inside the EFL classroom HECHMI HAMDI

Product and process writing Contrasting two popular approaches and examining how both can be used in the classroom BELGACEM HAMDI


READING VERSUS THE INTERNET Is the internet “killing” or boosting reading? FATEN ROMDHANI

Teaching vocabulary and grammar through songs and chants Advantages and limitations

Meet our special guest, Larry Ferlazzo, on page 18

Noamen AMARA


do rules rule? Thinking about whether we should follow rules or follow language toward meaning when learning or teaching punctuation


INTERVIEW Larry Ferlazzo talks about his great blog “Websites of the Day”, the Family Literary Project, and his two new books


Teaching reading using the “Jigsaw technique” How to teach reading using the jigsaw technique tarak brahmi



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 viruschecked.

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:


Product and Process Writing Which approach to use?

By Belgacem Hamdi, ELT Inspector

There have been several approaches to teaching writing. They have evolved with the development of different approaches to language teaching in general. In spite of methodological changes, writing continues to be an extremely challenging task for the teacher and learner of English. As a basic language skill for EFL learners, writing should be well thought of. In this article, I will describe and contrast two popular approaches and examine how both can be used in the classroom hoping this can help our students to develop their writing competence. Product approach:

is a traditional approach to teaching writing in which students are provided (with) a model and encouraged to mimic it in order to produce a similar product. For various reasons, the product approach usually appears an extremely daunting task. The main focus of this approach has always been on the final product: writing is a tool for the practice and reinforcement of specific grammatical and lexical patterns; accuracy being all-important whereas content and self-expression given little if any priority. Basically students were ‘writing to learn’ and not ‘learning to write’. The product approach

“Students were ‘writing to learn’ and not ‘learning to write’. ”

“The process approach considers writing as a creative act, which requires time and positive feedback to be done well.”

Process approach:

It is clear that the process approach evolved in an era of change in which 4

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conventions were challenged and reliance on form and conventions, questioned. Vanessa Steele defines the process approach as focusing more on the varied classroom activities which promote the development of language use; brainstorming, group discussion, re-writing…. Tribble defines the ‘process approach’ as ‘an approach to the teaching of writing which stresses the creativity of the individual writer, and which pays attention to the development of good writing practices rather than the imitation of models’. (Tribble, 1996, p.160). The process approach considers writing as a creative act, which requires time and positive feedback to be done well. In this model, the teacher needs to move away from being a marker to a reader, responding to the content of student’s writing more than the form.

TEACHING WRITING In process writing, the focus shifts from the final product itself to the different stages the writer goes through in order to achieve this outcome. By breaking down the task as a whole into its constituent parts, writing becomes less daunting and more manageable to the EFL student. Stage 1

“Process writing allows for the fact that no text can be perfect, but that a writer will get closer to perfection by producing, reflecting on, discussing and reworking successive drafts of a text.”

First students generate ideas by brainstorming and discussion. Second, they extend ideas into note form. Then, they organize ideas into a mind map, spidergram, or linear form. This stage helps to make the relationship of ideas more immediately obvious, which helps students with the structure of their texts. At this phase, the teacher provides only language support. Stage 2

Students write the first draft. This is done in class and frequently in pairs or groups. Stage 3

Drafts are exchanged. Students become the readers of each other’s work. By responding as readers, students develop an awareness of the fact that a writer is producing something to be read by someone else, and thus can improve their own drafts. Stage 4

Drafts are returned and improvements are made based upon peer feedback. Stage 5

A final draft is written. Stage 6

Students once again, exchange and read each other’s work and perhaps even write a response or reply. The process in ‘not linear’ but ‘recursive’ as, in Tribble’s words, ‘at any point in the preparation of a text, writers can loop backwards or forwards to whichever of the activities involved in text composition

they may find useful’. (Tribble, 1996, p. 59). Therefore, it allows for great flexibility. Writing is no longer a laborious activity if process-writing approach is adopted in the language classroom. This model alleviates most of the problems associated with this skill and turns the writing class into an interesting and communicative experience. Furthermore, using this approach at lower levels is not only feasible, but also backs the language learner up to become a talented writer in English. There is a clear distinction between processoriented and product-oriented writing. Nunan (2001) clearly states how very different this “process” approach is from the traditional product-oriented approach. Whereas the product approach focuses on writing tasks in which the learner imitates, copies and transforms teacher supplied models, the process approach focuses on the steps involved in creating a piece of work. The primary goal of product writing is an error-free coherent text. Process writing allows for the fact that no text can be perfect, but that a writer will get closer to perfection by producing, reflecting on, discussing and reworking successive drafts of a text. James McCrimmon sees it as the difference between writing as a way of knowing (process) and wring as a way of telling (product). Donald Murray sees it as the difference between internal and external revision (revising in order to clarify meaning for oneself vs. revising in order to clarify meaning for the reader.) Linda Flower sees it as the difference between writer-based and reader-based prose. A comparison of product and process approaches



• • • • • • •

• • • • •

Model text to be imitated Emphasis on organization of ideas One draft Emphasis on end product Teacher as audience Teacher as authority Importance of teacher-corrected papers


• •

Model text as resource for comparison Emphasis on ideas and idea development Multiple drafts Emphasis on process Various audiences according to type of writing Peer feedback as valuable tool Importance of conferencing and interactive feedback



What are the pros and cons of each approach?

“The approach to use will depend on you, the teacher, and on the students, and the genre of the text.”

Pros: • Easy to use with large classes • Easier to grade because emphasis is on form • Useful approach when form is important Cons: • Does not teach how to write independently • Does not teach how to think • Does not make writing a manageable and intentional activity • Limits creativity and demotivates the learner

Which approach to use?

“Using aspects of both models may be the most effective approach in teaching writing.”

The approach to use will depend on you, the teacher, and on the students, and the genre of the text. Certain genres such as formal letters and postcards, in which the features (layout, style, organization and grammar) are fixed, lend themselves most often to a productdriven approach. The other genres such as discursive essays and narrative lend themselves to processdriven approaches.

does not repudiate all interest in the product, (i.e. the final draft). Both aim at achieving the best product possible. Consequently, it is obvious that using aspects of both models may be the most effective approach in teaching writing as Nunan (1999) reaffirms: “there is no reason why a writing program should not contain elements of both approaches”.


I believe that the two approaches are not necessarily incompatible. Like the product approach, the Process-centred one 6

Pros: • Helps novice writers develop skills to write on their own • Encourages a thoughtful approach to writing • Helps develop thinking skills and learning strategies • Helps writers to own their writing process Cons: • Can take more time to teach • Need to be sure that writer does not make process explicit in writing itself • Can make classroom more challenging for the teacher

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advantages and limitations

By Noamen Amara, Teacher of English

Young learner classes often have fun songs and chants that are repeated. Children love them, and they can be used to teach vocabulary and grammar in a fun and engaging way. These can be very useful for improving students’ oral skills; however, “When children repeat set phrases it does not necessarily mean language acquisition is taking place” (Slatterly & Willis).

In various countries in the world,

“As teachers of young learners, we are often advised or trained to integrate songs or chants in our teaching.”


the curricular of teaching English to young learners often emphasize the use of songs and chants. This is simply because children love them, and they can be both used to teach vocabulary and grammar in a very funny and engaging way. Besides, they can help children improve their oral skills. However, some researchers believe that listening and repeating a number of words or sentences are not enough for the learner to acquire a new language. Thus, it important for us to know how a teacher can make sure that language acquisition is taking place in his/her young learners’ classroom, particularly with respect to oral communication. As teachers of young learners, we are often advised or trained to integrate songs or chants in our teaching. Besides, our students’ books usually contain listening scripts either of songs or chants. Thus, according to Scott and Ytreberg (1990), the majority of English teachers

The Tunisian English Teaching Forum | Issue 5 April 2011

throughout this world have used songs for one teaching purpose or another. What makes chants and especially songs frequently used is that they have specific features. First of all, “songs are highly memorable” and “highly motivating” (Davanellos, 1999, 13), as they create a joyful and interesting classroom atmosphere and they break up with the routines of the daily lesson. Secondly, I have myself realized quite often that my third year primary students became very motivated while repeating the same introductory part of the “Happy Street” song at the beginning of each unit. Thirdly, I noticed that even weaker students enjoyed repeating the highly rhythmical verses while the CD player was on. In addition, they feel they are participating with their best peers at least in one activity of the lesson- that is the warming up- while smiling and tapping on their desks.


Hence, you can see that children enjoy the funny and merry atmosphere of songs and chants as they can learn by listening and repeating chunks of language. Also, songs can be useful for improving the learners’ oral skills, by listening and repeating what they hear.

“We have to make sure that the listening material that we use in our lessons matches the students’ level.”

On the contrary, Slatterly and Willis emphasize that “when children repeat set phrases it does not necessarily mean language acquisition is taking place”. This is in part true, since when students just repeat chunks of language in a mechanical way without being aware of what they pronounce, we can not say that learning is taking place. In other words, students in this case are just like parrots repeating sounds that they hear while being unaware of the message implied in the sounds that they utter. Besides, we can not talk about language acquisition or learning without necessarily referring to the mind. So, according to Arnold (2005), listening turns out to be “an active process” only if “the mind actively engages in making meaning”. Thus, as teachers, we have to make sure that the listening material that we use in our lessons matches the students’ level because, according to Krashen’s view, acquisition can’t take place unless the input is “comprehensible”(1981, 6-7). In this context Brewster, Ellis, and Girard (2002) point out that “if someone is giving you a message or opinion, then of course you have to be able to understand it in order to respond”. Thus, decoding the message into a “comprehensible input” is vital in the acquisition or learning process. Whenever there is a listening activity, I usually make my best to ensure that my students manage to understand the listening passage, through various ways and extra material that you will see. The foreign language acquisition can take place through various ways during the teaching/learning process. For example, I often guide my pupils in the pre-listening activity to understand the keywords either through realia or flashcards or visuals. Also, Scott and Ytreberg suggest (1990, 34) “using puppets or a class mascot” as useful materials because they can be of great help


while “presenting new language orally”. For instance, a parrot puppet can whisper into a student’s ear, give instructions or tell a story to the whole class. Besides, I always advise my young learners to use their background knowledge of any subject at hand in order to understand what the listening passage is about. For instance, my fourth-year students rely on their pre-requisite knowledge of science and/or social studies to listen to the song entitled “Amazing Animals” and match each section with the right “milieu” where each animal lives. Thus, by relying on the teacher’s extra material and their background knowledge of the subject matter, young learners often manage to understand the listening passage which they use later either for memorizing new vocabulary, answering questions or consolidating pronunciation of new phonetic sounds. While implementing the lesson plan, songs and chants as listening materials can be used for various purposes and in any of the three stages of a lesson: pre-stage, while stage and post-stage. As a good example of using a chant in the pre-stage, in my junior class, my young learners listened to and repeated a chant entitled “My Body” so as to be familiar with the body parts, while I was showing them the flash card of each member at the appropriate section. So, using the flash cards helped my pupils better understand the new lexical items of the body parts while listening to the chant. In the while stage, my students were asked to listen to a song about the same topic and act. The song was centered on a set of activities based on Total Physical Response (TPR) where children listen and touch the body part(s). At this stage, the teacher should make sure that his/her students understand the new vocabulary by responding appropriately to the song and touching the right body member(s). At this point, I need to mention that before each listening activity, the teacher should “guide…[his/her students’] attention to specific parts of the spoken text,’ so that the learners will be aware of the purpose of and the rationale behind the listening activity, as I did.



“Listening to chants or songs and repeating “set phrases” are not enough to say that language acquisition is taking place.”

In this framework, Donaldson (1978) says that children need to know the ‘purposes and intentions’ which they can recognise and respond to. This is simply because if the students are not aware of the reasons behind the listening activity, they will not pay much attention to the content and if they try to do so their focus will be shattered by the lack of a reasonable motive. Listening can also take place at the post-stage. For example, at the end of the first lesson entitled “My Body”, my students were asked to listen to the child talking about his body parts in detail while they have to point to each part whenever it is mentioned and then say it again. At this stage, the teacher should monitor and see whether his/her students are pointing to the right member and naming it appropriately or not. If, not s/he can help the weaker students by listening again and repeating until s/he makes sure that the students master that. In the follow up activity, each student was asked to come in front of his peers and identify each of his following body parts: eye, nose, hair, ear and mouth. Before the activity takes place, I gave a model for my students to follow by pointing to and naming each of my body parts. Thus, students became more motivated and were enough confident to speak in front of their peers and refer to themselves. In case of errors, the other students were willing to correct their classmate(s) in a very funny and tolerant atmosphere. To sum up, I can say that songs and chants are very useful materials in the classroom of young learners, since they create a cheerful and amusing atmosphere. Besides, children love to learn while playing or listening to music. Yet, as Slatterly and Willis emphasize, listening to chants or songs and repeating “set phrases” are not enough to say that language acquisition is taking place. Thus, the teacher should make sure that her/his students really understand what they are saying; otherwise they will be just repeating mechanically chunks of language without involving their minds and feelings. References:


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Arnold, W. (2005) Listening for Young Learners http:// id=_2_1&url=%2fwebapps%2fblackboard%2fexecute% 2flauncher%3ftype%3dCourse%26id%3d_52891_1%26 url%3d Brewster, J, Ellis, G & Girard D (2002), The Primary English Teacher’s Guide. New Edition. England: Pearson Education Limited, cited in Wendy Arnold, (2005) Listening for Young Learners Davanellos, Akis (1999), Songs, ENGLISH TEACHING professional, Issue Thirteen http://blackboard.umbc. edu/@@F5EBF8DF028637D3696FCDF9CABC6816/ courses/1/ELC688YL_8030_WT2010/content/_1187527_1/ embedded/Songs%20Akis%20Davanellos.pdf Donaldson, M (1978) Children’s Minds. London:Fontana Press, cited in Wendy Arnold, (2005) Listening for Young Learners Krashen, Stephen D. (1981) Principles and Practice in Second Language Acquisition. English Language Teaching series. London: Prentice-Hall International (UK) Ltd. 202 pages. Scott, W.A. & Ytreberg, L.H. (1990.) Teaching English to children (Chapter 4). New York: Longman F5EBF8DF028637D3696FCDF9CABC6816/courses/1/ ELC688YL_8030_WT2010/content/_1187527_1/ embedded/Scott%20Ytreberg%20Oral%20Work.pdf

Noamen Amara

Teacher of English since 2001. • 2001-2006: teaching in Tunisian schools • 2006-2010: teaching in the Kingdom of Bahrain • Teacher trainer for the CAPES trainees in the school years 2004-2005 /20052006 • 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://teachingenglish-alexenoamen.




Do Rules Rule? Learning to Punctuate with Real Books Not Rule Books

By Steve Peha,

President of TTMS

(Teaching That Makes Sense)

“Rule books might be why so many of us have so many problems with punctuation in the first place.”

Many people have problems with punctuation. Regular people have problems because they feel that they never learned the rules well in school. Writers have problems because they feel the rules don’t always apply to them. Editors have problems (even though they know the rules) because the publishers they work for have additional rules of their own. And publishers have problems because they can’t get the regular people, the writers, and the editors to follow their rules consistently. So if punctuation is a problem for you or your students, relax—you’re in great company. Because punctuation is so problematic, and even people who know the rules have problems applying them, I think it makes more sense to talk about how punctuation works in real books rather than in rule books. In fact, I think rule books might be why so many of us have so many problems with punctuation in the first place. Thinking Rules

So how are we going to punctuate our writing if we don’t follow rules? We’re going to take the advice of Pulitzer Prize-winning writer and writing coach, Donald Murray:

The writer should not follow rules, but follow language toward meaning, always seeking to understand what is appearing on the page, to see it clearly, to evaluate it clearly, for clear thinking will produce clear writing.

Rather than memorizing rules, and 12

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then relying on them to tell us whether our writing is right, we’re going to rely on our brains and evaluate our writing for ourselves. We’re going to read our writing carefully, ask ourselves what we think it means, and think clearly about whether or not it will mean the same thing to our readers. Any time you want, you can put this article down and grab a rule book. There’s certainly no shortage of them, that’s for sure. I think I have twelve. And I do look at them when I’m curious about something. But when I write, I take Mr. Murray’s advice, and instead of following rules I follow language toward meaning. I also follow Mr. Murray’s advice when I teach writing. That’s why I’m more inclined to rely on real books than rule books when I want students to learn something new.


As we read in class, we look closely at how writers and publishers punctuate their work. When we see something that confuses us, we don’t ask, “What is the rule?”, we ask “What does it mean?” By looking at all the different ways punctuation is used, we develop a real-world, rather than a rule-world, sense of how punctuation works. Occasionally, when we’re curious about something in particular, we may use a rule book to look it up. But we always come back to real books to complete our understanding of how rules are applied. Reading is all about getting meaning from text. But meaning isn’t created on the page, it’s created in the minds of our readers. Because the rules of writing aren’t always in our readers’ minds, we can’t count on rules to help us communicate effectively. Readers will be using their brains to figure out what we’re trying to say. So we’re better off using our brains to say it as well as we can.

“Writing is communication between a writer sharing ideas through language and a reader following language toward meaning.”

Let me be clear: rule books are useful references. Every writer should own several and consult them when they have specific questions. Every writing teacher should have at least one. But rule books are hard to learn from because their rules are numerous and often hard to understand. That’s why I supplement rule books with the real books students read every day. Not only do we learn the rules, we discover unusual things from time to time, even things that break the rules. We’ll also discover what writing really is—communication between a writer sharing ideas through language and a reader following language toward meaning. Meaning Rules

Since most of us are trained in school to follow the rules approach to punctuation, we might not know how to go about it any other way. What’s all this “clear thinking” we’re supposed to do? And what could be clearer than a rule?

Take a look at this sentence:

He felt the first blow on his back causing him to stumble and drop his bag which was promptly kicked into the bushes by another of the three.

Now compare that one with this one: He felt the first blow on his back, causing him to stumble and drop his bag, which was promptly kicked into the bushes by another of the three.

Notice the difference? The top one has no commas, the bottom one has two. Which one is correct? What’s the rule about commas? Hold on a second, I’ll get one of my twelve rule books. Heck, maybe I’ll get ’em all! And that’s the problem: When we punctuate by rule, we stop following language toward meaning and we start following a rule book— or twelve. So instead of asking questions like “Which one is correct?” or “What’s the rule about commas?” let’s try questions like these: • How does it look? At first glance, both sentences look fine to me. What I notice as I look more closely, however, is that in the version with the commas it’s easier to see the three-part structure of the sentence. Without the commas, I can’t tell until reading through it what the structure is. So I’m thinking that a reader might find the commas helpful if he or she is not used to reading sentences that are so long. • How does it sound? Both sentences sound good to my ear. But when I read the first one, I find that I move along just a bit faster. That makes sense because the commas in the second sentence cue me to slow down just a bit at the end of each part. • How does it feel? The first sentence feels slightly better to me. Without the commas, it reads like a single uninterrupted event. I also notice that it’s a surprise action sequence. Apparently, someone has suffered a sneak attack at the hands of an enemy and his evil henchmen. It happens fast and I think that’s why I want it to feel fast as I read it.

(Continued on page 24)




Process and Product writing in EFL classes By Hechmi Hamdi,

Teacher of English

“Writing assignments are unrealistic, unmotivating and lacking fun.”


Some problems related to writing in EFL classes

• Pupils are not prompted to read regularly outside their textbooks. Good readers are good writers. The more we read, the better we write. The actual picture in EFL classes is characterized by pupils’ utter dependence on textbook literature; this is not enough to activate writing skills within learners. • In EFL classes, writing are generally a follow-up activity or a homework that comes at the end of the session, and sometimes delayed. • Writing assignments are unrealistic, unmotivating and lacking fun. • Focus on form and grammatical Product-oriented writing

accuracy at the expense of meaning. • Focus on the product-oriented writing assignments under the pretext of national exam urgencies and time constraints. Writing is, thus, merely an examoriented activity performed in a mechanical way with a weighty stress on structure. Sometimes pupils are driven to memorize whole chunks of writing pieces to be incorporated in their writing pieces. Some common differences between Product-oriented writing and Process-oriented writing

Process-oriented writing -It is a kind of a test - It is a skill - Audience is not important. -It is purposeful and directed to an -It is meant to be corrected audience -It is individual . -Ideas are the starting point -Organizing of ideas is more important - It focuses on the complexity of thought than ideas themselves. -It is based on collaboration and -The focus is on the finished correct cooperation product. -Writing is a way of knowing -The focus on structure: It stresses -It is the outcome of more than one draft the mechanical aspects of writing, -It is a true to life assignment based on (grammatical and syntactical structures motivation and audience awareness and imitating models and moulds). -It is writer- based -It is a developmental process that creates -It is seen as part of authoritative models of self-discovery and meaning teaching. -It is reader-based - Emphasis on the creative process

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TEACHING WRITING Steps followed in process-oriented writing

1 2 3



Preparing to write Drafting Putting thoughts on paper


Revising Taking another look

Editing/Proofreading carefully examining a paper to see that it contains no errors of grammar, spelling, or punctuation Publication The final draft

Sample process-oriented writing assignment

I tried to apply the process-oriented writing to deal with the topic below .The topic is excerpted from lesson 12,“Perform to learn ”, Second Year Secondary Education, Student’s Book. Text: Money and Evil ,page 73, paragraph 3 Topic: Develop the following statement into a small paragraph « Money is a good servant and a bad master » Steps 1-Pre-writing ( Planning,Preparing to write)


• Pupils Make decision, Read, think, gather information ,generate ideas about the matter/Brainstorm with a peer or a group • Pupils decide number of paragraphs / Topic sentence /relevant ideas /Type of organization /Sequence in which ideas will be presented./ Narrowing the topic • Pupils outline, diagram • Pupils work in small groups at this stage to share ideas./Group members write an outline of their composition and a list of relevant words (nouns, adjectives, verbs, adverbs, linkers,etc.) that they anticipated useful for the topic.


-Pupils decide how money can be a master and a servant at the same time / 2 main parts in the paragraph and a concluding one. -Servant :a blessing (advantages) / Master: a curse (disadvantages) Advantages: -Achieve dreams.. -Be rich.. -Help oneself and others.. -Feel happy.. -Enjoy oneself… -Set up business… -Etc.. -Learners can provide instances of good use of money (charities, philanthropy.. etc..)


TEACHING WRITING Disadvantages -Evil,corruption,rich ,poor ,wealth -The strong appeal of money -Money has a magic power/appeal (values ,use, misuse, corrupt, principles ,teachings, law ,crime ,power,dominate, scorn ,evil, happiness, worry,etc) -Etc.. -Learners provide instances of bad use of money /(misuse of money)… Conclusion Blessing +curse :Money is a double-edged weapon/ -Money must not be misused../ We should(not)/must (not),etc … Linkers First, second, third, furthermore…on the one hand, …on the other hand…However, Nevertheless.. 2-Drafting • Focus on content (quantity and quality to be considered later) • Compose freely, without concern for mechanics • Expand notes, (adding, removing, rearranging, splitting or combining sections / paragraphs, etc...) • Linking the different elements so that the text is clear for the reader. • Organize thoughts/explain examples/ ideas… • Selecting the appropriate vocabulary to express meaning

Money is a good servant…. It is true that money is a good servant/ or simply: Money is a good servant. / Or Money is blessing. -Money enables us to achieve dreams -With money ,we can lead a decent life -Provide yourself and your family with what they need. -We can stand by needy people /give hope to the hopeless… -We can enjoy our life (Travel, tour the world, discover new places, etc…) -Money enables people start business -Be self-satisfaction However, money can be a bad master./ OR simply : money is bad master/ or money is a curse -Money leads to corruption -It is the root of all evils. -People never stop reiterating“life is money”!!! -It may lead to tyranny, anarchy, corruption, violence… -Wars are waged because of money… -The rich looking down upon the poor… -With money, the honoured dignity of people can be bought… -People can do the dirtiest things... -It results in moral decline…


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TEACHING WRITING 3-Revising • Share draft with peer groups • Invite discussion, accept response and helpful input from peers (Add , delete , rearrange, and revise first draft) • Read for global impression; that is the writer places himself in the position of the reader • Reading for specific points (relevance to task, coverage, explicitness, organization, layout, language) and making any necessary alterations.

A)first part of the paragraph: Money is a good servant/a blessing (First, .Second, ….Third,…. Moreover,…. Furthermore…) B)second part of my paragraph : Money is a bad master/a curse (First, ….Second,…..Third,…. Moreover,…. Furthermore…) To conclude: Money is double-edged weapon .We should never let it control our lives and haunt our dreams.

4-Editing / Proofreading • Share revised draft with peer group . • Invite correction of grammar, spelling, punctuation, usage,etc… • Incorporate corrections in final draft.

5-Publication • Polish your composition • Share the product with peers • Submit for final evaluation by teacher

Hechmi Hamdi

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



T his issue’ s special guest

Larry Ferlazzo Interviewed by

Tarak Brahmi, Teacher of English


Larry Ferlazzo is a former community organizer (for about twenty years) and an ELL teacher at Luther Burbank High School in Sacramento, CA. He is also a TechLEARNING Educators’ eZine writer. He was named the 2007 Grand Prize Winner of the International Reading Association Presidential Award For Reading Technology. He won and was nominated for many other awards as a community organizer, a teacher and a blogger. Larry also writes regularly about ideas for the ELL classroom and provides lists comprising links to various educational resources and Web2.0 tools in his blog, Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day.

Could you tell our readers more about Larry Ferlazzo?

very tentatively titled “Student SelfMotivation.”

Well, on the personal level, I’m married, have three children and two grandchildren. I enjoy playing basketball, though my skills at it peaked at mediocre many years ago. In terms of additional professional information, I’ve written two books, “Building Parent Engagement In Schools” and “English Language Learners: Teaching Strategies That Work.” A third one will be published in May,

Your blog, “Websites of The Day”, provides thousands of links to educational resources and Web2.0 tools which are verified on a regular basis. More than 150 links are added monthly (about 5 everyday). Managing such a blog needs a lot of effort and time. Knowing that you are also an active teacher, how do you manage to maintain such a full-scale blog?

The Tunisian English Teaching Forum | Issue 5 April 2011

interview Over the years, I’ve been able to identify the best places to learn about new resources, so that streamlines the process. A supportive family helps, as does getting energy from playing basketball and from teaching at a great school. “Tech is a tool, not a panacea. It’s just one of many tools for a teacher to keep in their “toolbox.” If something can be done just as well with paper, pen, and a whiteboard, I see no reason to have students use a computer.”

“The FLP has provided computers and home internet access to immigrant families so they could use the Internet to develop their English skills.”

Many bloggers know you as a teacher who is particularly interested in providing lists of educational resources and tools on the web. Your “Websites of The Day” is a great success not only judging by the number of awards and nominations but also in terms of the number of visits to your blog and the number of blogs that use your lists as a reference. But in one of your interviews, you stated that “[technology] has to be kept in its place”. Where should the boundaries be drawn when using technology in the classroom? I think tech is a tool, not a panacea. It’s just one of many tools for a teacher to keep in their “toolbox.” If something can be done just as well with paper, pen, and a whiteboard, I see no reason to have students use a computer. The key, in my mind, is looking at what increased learning value is generated by using tech. If there is one, use it. If there isn’t, don’t. That said, especially for English Language Learners, there are huge benefits to using tech, especially with all the new and free sites out there that provide audio/ visual support for text, ones that evaluate individual pronunciation, and interactives that give a student plenty of opportunities to risk and learn from mistakes in private. In another interview you talked about “leading by the ear rather than by the mouth”. Could you tell us more about your teaching philosophy? Listening to what students want to learn and why they want to learn it, using inductive techniques that help guide students towards learning what they need instead of telling them, and inviting them to share their personal stories so we can


connect those stories to new knowledge -- all those are examples of leading with the ear rather than the mouth. The Family Literary Project that you initiated proved so successful that the school district decided to provide $80,000 to triple the size of the project. Could you tell our readers more about the FLP and what accounts for its success? That Project, which unfortunately has had to recently been scaled back because of cuts resulting from the California budget crisis, has provided computers and home internet access to immigrant families so they could use the Internet to develop their English skills. Students and parents in the program have had a four times greater increase in their assessment scores than those in a control group. It has been successful, I think, for several reasons. One, it was an idea that came from immigrant parents, who helped design the program. Two, it was designed to use tech to help build and strengthen face-toface relationships instead of just creating a relationship with the computer screen -families sat around the computer together reading and practicing together. And, three, the school and families developed a system of accountability ensuring that most members of each household spent at least one hour each night on our website. It seems that your background as a community organizer is helping a lot in your success as a teacher. Do you think that the strategies that you used during years of community organizing should be part of teachers’ training programs? Community organizing is just another word for relationship-building and, yes, I think you can never over-estimate its importance in good teaching.



The FLP involves parents in the learning process. Does this imply that you believe in a more vigorous role for parents in general? Or does it apply to foreign-born families in particular?

“The key division, I think, is not between foreign-born and native parents but, rather, between parent ‘involvement’ and parent ‘engagement’.”

through a “lens” of the countless assets that they and their families can bring. It’s a very practical book filled with lesson plans and ideas.

With the plethora of online resources and materials, teachers may sometimes find it Tons of studies show that having parents difficult to choose the right application or strongly connected to the school and to what material. Could you give us some tips on their children are learning there results in how to select the right tools? huge benefits towards student achievement. This holds true for all students. The criteria I use includes: The key division, I think, is not between Is it free? foreign-born and native parents but, rather, Can I figure out how to use it in less than one between parent “involvement” and parent minute, and can a student do the same with “engagement.” Involvement means schools a little guidance from me? are leading with their mouths instead of their Does it bring some value-added benefit over ears, not taking the initiative to build parent doing the activity with paper and pen? relationships. Engagement, on the other Can it be used in some way to develop and hand, means that we’re learning the hopes deep face-to-face relationships? and dreams of the entire family, looking at ways we can connect parents with other parents who have similar concerns, and figuring out ways schools can look beyond the four walls of the classroom. The Education Week, talking about your recent book English Language Learners: Teaching Strategies that Work, says that “What stands out about Larry Ferlazzo’s new book[…]from others that describe strategies to engage high school ELLs are his suggestions for how to encourage such students to be leaders.” Could you tell us more about your book? The book lays-out how I have applied community organizing methodology in the classroom using a five step “organizing process”: 1. Building strong relationships with students 2. Accessing prior knowledge through student stories 3. Identifying and mentoring students’ leadership potential 4. Learning by doing 5. Reflection So often, we look at students through a “lens” of deficits. The book describes how, instead, it can be more fruitful to look


The Tunisian English Teaching Forum | Issue 5 April 2011

Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites Of the Day





The Internet

By Faten Romdhani, Teacher of English

“We, as teachers, have a responsibility to make our learners grow fonder and fonder of reading, though this is not wellplanned or enhanced in our curriculums.”


Reading keeps us alive. It refreshes our mind and fosters our lexical, grammatical, logical and analytical skills. Without reading, one is amongst the dead. It is said that this digital era has extinguished the flames of love for reading and has directly or indirectly led to the death of the book and consequently the death of Reading as a hobby. People everywhere are so engrossed in being online that they forget about reading. It’s true that the Internet, as a revolutionary means of communication, has turned this world into a village and has promoted to a large extent the proliferation of video-based projects and has put more stress on visualizing many aspects of our life via catchy, appealing and welldesigned animations. But this does not exclude the fact that technology can enhance the learner’s/ the teacher’s avid eagerness to read. During my short experience in teaching, the web has added a lot to my experience in “reading” and not only has it revived my habit of reading but has also made me feel more nostalgic to turning more and more pages. As a matter of fact, I used to read a lot before becoming a teacher but after that, my readings were constrained to reading documents related to our professional development as teachers. However, now I feel that I am fonder and fonder of reading whether online (e-books, articles, poems, etc..) or reading forlorn books on the shelves.

The Tunisian English Teaching Forum | Issue 5 April 2011

Thus, with more and more resources available, my eagerness has grown into an addiction. It’s true that reading for me now is intertwined with reading as a teacher looking for more tips to selfdevelop. But it’s reading after all, isn’t it? I really don’t agree with those who claim that the internet has killed books. And the proof is that more sites are encouraging members to read and boost their reading skills. Many decades ago, it was said that TV has killed reading and now it’s the turn of the internet to be blamed for so. Reading is a nice habit that we can instill in our kids and in our learners from the youngest age. And we, as teachers, are having a responsibility as all parents to make our learners grow fonder and fonder of reading, though this is not wellplanned or enhanced in our curriculums concerning teaching English as a foreign language. We can teach passages from literary books to our learners and create in them an avid passion to read more & more.

“Kids who grow fond of reading from an early age tend to keep the flame alive but those whose parents did not instill this habit in them, suffer from very poor grades in reading.”

We should not, I think, as teachers put the blame on any technological facility as hindering or blocking a lively hobby that can never die from the hearts and minds of those who really care for. And this is clearly depicted in the behavior of our learners: kids who grow fond of reading from an early age tend to keep the flame alive but those whose parents did not instill this habit in them, suffer from very poor grades in reading because they think reading is really outmoded and does not have any benefit for them. I must feel grateful towards the net because it has been a must to read each day at least some pages from any chapter of any e- book, or any interesting article in any online magazine. Besides, I think a book is a book whatever is its shape: an electronic book or a book in print. This is not a huge discrepancy. It is essential that we read more each day whether virtually or really. I hope I convinced some of my colleagues that technology is never meant to harm the enhancement of reading. It is rather in accordance with it. There are, in fact, so many websites that enhance reading and writing and develop as a community who share with each other their passion and love for reading literary passages of all types, poems, etc…These sites involve readers on many various levels and reach them on a weekly basis to send them chapters of books to read and comment upon. All in all, Reading , as a hobby amongst our learners, is facing nowadays many challenges and it needs really extra attention from all of us to make it thrive and become an inherent part of our teenager’s and kids’ free time.

A short Biography: Faten Romdhani I have been teaching English for 12 years now. I taught in different towns of Tunisia. Sidi Bouzid was my first hometown of teaching. There, I was well- assisted and that added a lot to my enthusiasm for teaching. Great values such as: hard work, truthfulness and positive reinforcement were the key words that made me long for being a better teacher. In fact, I’ve been safely guided to the shore of enthusiasm and collaboration. When in Nabeul area, my dear colleagues and supervisors have been of great inspiration and help. I may say that I’ve been very lucky that during my short experience of teaching, I’ve been inspired by Great people everywhere I taught. I am forever grateful for them. 2009: Mr. Hadji Abdelmalek our ICT Trainer in Nabeul started TEIT on facebook! (The token is :sharing is caring) , I belong to the group and I like the experience because we feel we are one community. My websites: http://

Some links that I suggest to you dear colleagues html




“There aren’t always clear right and wrong answers in the world of punctuation, especially when commas are involved.”

Do Rules Rule ? by Steve Peha (continued)

• How does it mean? (Normally, we say “What does it mean?” but here we want to know how the punctuation affects what the sentence means and how the meaning of the sentence is conveyed to the reader as a result.) Neither approach to punctuation changes the meaning in my opinion. But there’s a subtle difference in emphasis. Using the two commas to separate the three parts makes me feel as though they are of equal importance. Because of this, I tend to focus more on the last part where the bag goes under the bushes. In the sentence without commas, I pay a little more attention to the front of the sentence and come away with a memory of victim being pushed from behind. In either case, the difference is so subtle it’s probably not worth worrying about. So which way would I choose? I’d choose the no-comma approach for the reason I gave about wanting the speed of the sentence to match the speed of the action. However, at twenty-eight words, this is a fairly long stretch of language. If my readers weren’t used to reading sentences this long, they might have some trouble. I’m thinking of kids as young as maybe third grade. You won’t find a lot of twenty-eight-word sentences in third grade books. And if you do, they’ll probably have commas in them. So if I’m writing for young readers, or for anyone who might lose their way in a long sentence, I’ll take the twocomma approach. Not surprisingly, an editor might differently about this than a writer. Here’s what a professional book editor had to say: “While the first sentence in the example is technically correct, most writers would choose the second sentence, simply because it can be read more easily and the action can be followed more clearly without getting mixed up. Most editors would say the two commas are necessary, because the second phrase is dependent on (or describes) the first clause, and the third phrase is dependent on (or describes) the second phrase.”


The Tunisian English Teaching Forum | Issue 5 April 2011

Though I haven’t looked it up, I’ll bet this editor is right about the rules governing the use of commas in sentences with dependent phrases. And if you understand the concept of dependency in grammar, you may like that explanation, too. I’m not sure the editor is right about most writers preferring the sentence with the two commas. In the first case, we can look in a rule book. In the second, we’d have to ask a lot of writers to know for sure. As an experiment, I asked five of my writer friends what they thought. Three liked the no-comma sentence, one liked the two-comma sentence, and one said that issues like this are just silly and that they don’t matter to him at all. One thing’s for sure: when it comes to questions of punctuation, it seems like everyone has an answer—and that everyone is certain their answer is correct. Personally, I think it’s great to have differences of opinion like these as long as everyone agrees that these are opinions, and that opinions don’t become facts just because people repeat them over and over in a loud voice and bang their fist on the table. There aren’t always clear right and wrong answers in the world of punctuation, especially when commas are involved. Some people think we have to play by the rules; others think rules were made to be broken. As for me, I think we all learn more, and get along better, when we follow language toward meaning, and leave the rules to the folks who write the rule books. Whew! This Is Exhausting!

That was a lot of thinking for a couple of commas. If it’s like that for every sentence we write, maybe a rule book’s not a bad idea. But it’s not like that for every sentence we write. In this particular case, we just solved a huge problem, one that is going to come up again and again for the rest of our writing lives. This won’t cover every three-part sentence; some will require commas for other reasons. But it’s a useful bit of knowledge that we’ll be able to apply in many future writing situations.


“I know I can’t remember a thousand rules. But it’s easy to remember four questions.”

Rather than following the words in a rule book, we followed the words on the page. We asked four important questions, and in the process, we learned something about commas—and about reading and readers and pacing within a sentence, as well as the relationship of punctuation to meaning and probably several other things—that we can use for the rest of our lives. We can use our four questions for the rest of our lives, too. That’s another reason why this way of doing things is probably easier than the rule book way. I know I can’t remember a thousand rules. But it’s easy to remember four questions. So, yes, at any given moment, the “follow language toward meaning” approach to punctuation is harder than using a rule book. But if you’re planning to write for the rest of your life, it’s probably more efficient in the long run. Formalizing Our Study with Punctuation Reading

“We tend to make three mistakes when we introduce kids to punctuation.”

Why is punctuation so hard to learn? Because it’s complicated and controversial, and because the way we teach it in school often makes it confusing as well. We tend to make three mistakes when we introduce kids to punctuation: (1) We focus on rules rather than on meaning; (2) we teach the marks in isolation rather than in the context of how writers use them; and (3) We teach punctuation with textbooks instead of with the real books we read every day. We’ve already dealt with the first two problems. Now we’re going to tackle the third. Take a look at this opening paragraph from a student report on American history: On a dark December night in 1776, as he led a barefoot brigade of ragged revolutionaries across the icy Delaware River, George Washington said, “Shift your fat behind, Har-ry. But slowly or you’ll swamp the darn boat.” He was talk-ing to General Henry Knox (they called him “Ox” for short). There’s a painting of George


Washington where he’s stand-ing up in a boat scanning the riverbank for Redcoats. I al-ways thought he just wanted a good view. But I guess the reason he was standing was because he didn’t have a place to sit down.

Now read this: [NEW PARAGRAPH] [INDENT] [CAPITAL] on a dark [CAPITAL] december night in 1776 [COMMA] as he led a barefoot brigade of ragged revolutionaries across the icy [CAPITAL] delaware [CAPITAL] river [COMMA] [CAPITAL] george [CAPITAL] washington said [COMMA] [QUOTE] [CAPITAL] shift your fat behind [COMMA] [CAPITAL] har [HYPHEN] ry [PERIOD] [CAPITAL] but slowly or you [APOSTROPHE] ll swamp the darn boat [PERIOD] [QUOTE] [CAPITAL] he was talk [HYPHEN] ing to [CAPITAL] general [CAPITAL] henry [CAPITAL] knox [PARENTHESIS] they called him [QUOTE] [CAPITAL] ox [QUOTE] for short [PARENTHESIS] [PERIOD] [CAPITAL] there [APOSTROPHE] s a painting of [CAPITAL] george [CAPITAL] washington where he [APOSTROPHE] s stand [HYPHEN] ing up in a boat scanning the riverbank for [CAPITAL] redcoats [PERIOD] [CAPITAL] i al [HYPHEN] ways thought he just wanted a good view [PERIOD] [CAPITAL] but [CAPITAL] i guess the reason he was standing was because he didn [APOSTROPHE] t have a place to sit down [PERIOD] [END OF PARAGRAPH]

Pretty weird, huh? But it’s also pretty interesting, if you ask me. This is what reading is really like. Even though we don’t say the punctuation marks out loud, or even quietly in our heads, we do read over these things every time we read. But we don’t pay much attention to them, and that’s where we miss some valuable learning. For example, in that single ninety-five-word paragraph, we encountered: • Forty-eight marks of punctuation. And that doesn’t include other conventions like the correct spellings of ninety-five words and the correct use of ninety-four spaces.



“The next time you sit down with a book, spend the first two or three minutes doing a little punctuation reading. You might be surprised at what you notice.”

• Ten different kinds of punctuation marks. New paragraph, indent, capital, comma, quote, hyphen, period, apostrophe, parenthesis, and end of paragraph. • Fifteen uses of punctuation. Indent for new paragraph. Period at the end of a sentence. Capital at the beginning of sentence. Capital for a name. Capital for something that is one-of-a-kind. Capital for the word “I”. Capital for a personal title. Capital for the name of a month. Parentheses for an aside. Quotation marks for dialog. Quotation marks for a nickname. Comma to separate parts of a sentence. Comma to introduce a quotation. Apostrophe for a contraction. Hyphen to break a word at a line ending. Is punctuation reading a good way to read? Hardly. It’s very slow, and it’s hard to understand what you’re reading. But it’s a great way to learn about punctuation. It helps you learn the names of all the marks, and it helps you see how real writers use them in real writing. When I teach punctuation reading in school, we try to practice it several days a week. But we only practice for a few minutes each day. Often we just read a single paragraph like we did here. For a couple of weeks, we concentrate on catching all the marks as we read. But we don’t spend much energy thinking about why they’re there. Then, when we get so good at reading punctuation that we can do it without thinking too much, we start trying to figure out how writers use it. So


the next time you sit down with a book, spend the first two or three minutes doing a little punctuation reading. You might be surprised at what you notice. Punctuation Inquiry

Punctuation reading helps us learn the names of the marks and develop a sense for where they’re used. But it doesn’t tell us why they’re used. For that, we have go to the next exercise: punctuation inquiry. Don’t worry, it isn’t as serious as it sounds. Once you’ve read through a passage and figured out the punctuation, the next thing to do is to figure out why it’s there. Don’t worry about explaining every single mark. Instead, pick just one mark—ideally one that is used in several different ways—and focus on that. For example, in this paragraph, we might want to focus on capitalization: On a dark December night in 1776, as he led a barefoot brigade of ragged revolutionaries across the icy Delaware River, George Washington said, “Shift your fat behind, Har-ry. But slowly or you’ll swamp the darn boat.” He was talk-ing to General Henry Knox (they called him “Ox” for short). There’s a painting of George Washington where he’s stand-ing up in a boat scanning the riverbank for Redcoats. I al-ways thought he just wanted a good view. But I guess the reason he was standing was because he didn’t have a place to sit down.

There are several different places where different kinds of words are capitalized. Let’s see if we can figure out why:

Example On...

Why It’s Used Beginning of a sentence.

December Delaware River

Name of a month. Something that is one-of-akind. This is a specific river.

The Tunisian English Teaching Forum | Issue 5 April 2011

Questions/Comments Sometimes I see really big capital letters, way taller than regular size, at the start of a story. What’s that about? What if there’s another Delaware River? Is that still one-of-a-kind?


“Punctuation inquiry is just what it says it is: an exercise that involves inquiring into the use of punctuation.”

George Washington General

A person’s name. A person’s title.


This is a nickname but I guess it’s still a name. This is the name of a group of people.


Even if you can’t figure out why a mark is used, just trying to figure it out will help you learn. This is also a good time to go to one of those rule books you’ve probably got sitting around somewhere. If you know the specific mark you want to learn about, and what you want to learn about it, a rule book can be useful.

“When I was in school, I was taught punctuation every year. But I don’t think I learned much about it.”

Punctuation inquiry is just what it says it is: an exercise that involves inquiring into the use of punctuation. It’s the questions, not the answers, that are most valuable. That’s why the third column in our table is there. As you study punctuation, you’ll find many situations where the way a mark is used differs from, or even contradicts, a way you’ve seen it used before. When that happens, write down your thoughts in the form of a question or a comment, and save it for later. Take Ownership of Punctuation with Your own Rule Book

When I was in school, I was taught punctuation every year. But I don’t think I learned much about it. As a teacher, the students I worked with couldn’t punctuate well and, sadly, I couldn’t teach them very well either. Then another teacher introduced me to Donald Murray’s idea.

Sometimes I see titles not capitalized. I don’t understand how this works.

language toward meaning” put me on the path to punctuation power. But I still didn’t know how to give that power to the students I was working with. Finally, I began to use punctuation reading and punctuation inquiry. Now, I had students following language toward meaning and learning rules at the same time. Each time we came across of new use of a mark, we would add the “rule” to a big piece of chart paper. We had a chart for each mark. At the end, we put all the charts into a big book. From then on, any time anyone wanted to look up a rule, we had our own rule book to look it up in. This gave students a wonderful sense of ownership. It also gave me a break from having to do so much correcting all the time. The “Big Book” as we came to call it served as the culmination of our study. We never took a test, we never filled out worksheets, we never corrected fake examples. We read the good books we were already reading. We wrote and edited many pages of our own writing. And we asked ourselves simple questions about why the work of professional writers was punctuated in certain ways.

Applying Mr. Murray’s idea of “following




Using real books instead of rule books, doing punctuation reading every day, and writing down the rules we discovered for ourselves through punctuation inquiry, made learning to punctuate almost as much fun as learning to write.

Steve Peha President of Teaching That Makes Sense, Inc. Seattle, WA TTMS is a successful education consulting company with more than 100 clients nationwide. Steve presented more than 250 professional development workshops. He is author of more than 190 articles for The Seattle Times’ Effective Learning Series. Creator of more than 40 original workshops in reading, writing, math, assessment, and test preparation.


The Tunisian English Teaching Forum | Issue 5

April 2011

A Night in Tunisia

By Dizzy Gillespie The moon is the same moon above you Aglow with its cool evening light But shining at night, in Tunisia Never does it shine so bright The stars are aglow in the heavens But only the wise understand That shining at night in Tunisia They guide you through the desert sand Words fail, to tell a tale Too exotic to be told Each night’s a deeper night In a world, ages old The cares of the day seem to vanish The ending of day brings release Each wonderful night in Tunisia Where the nights are filled with peace

A ll


o n e .

O n e



A ll .



Teaching reading using the “Jigsaw technique” By Tarak Brahmi, Teacher of English

“Jigsaw reading is a cooperative learning technique that aims at enhancing the learners’ reading comprehension skills by helping them to meaningfully interact with the reading material.”

Jigsaw reading is a cooperative learning technique that aims at enhancing the learners’ reading comprehension skills by helping them to meaningfully interact with the reading material and to take responsibility in sharing what they have learnt with other learners. The learners are, therefore, actively engaged as they have to share and to explain what they have learnt to their peers in the other groups. How does it work? The class is divided in several teams. The team members work together to answer questions related to sections of a text. Then, the group members join a group with a different section and they share what they know from the previous activity to complete a task which pulls all the pieces together. In this article I am going to show how a jigsaw reading activity can be applied in an EFL classroom. In keeping with the recent events

in Tunisia, I chose an extract from Wikepedia ( wiki/Tunisia). The text is divided into three sections: the first section deals with the country and the people, the second is a short history of Tunisia and the last is about the recent events which took place in December 2010 and January 2011. Pre-reading activity:

Warm-up: Ask students to talk about their own city. You can use a map to elicit the new vocabulary. For example, 30

The Tunisian English Teaching Forum | Issue 5 April 2011

to elicit the meaning of the words “ bordered by”, “located in”, “composed of”, you can ask your students about which cities surround their town. On the board, a teacher in Sidi Bouzid can write Sidi Bouzid is bordered by Kairouan to the north, Gafsa to the south, etc.. (See

map). Then, you can ask how many states/ governorates there are in their country. You may write: Tunisia consists of ( /is composed of ) 24 governorates.


When the active vocabulary has been elicited, you can ask students to do the following task in pairs: Match the words with the right prepositions: Prepositional phrases Word Consist Derived Located Bordered Composed

Preposition by of from in of

Brainstorming activity: You can start by drawing a spidergram with the word “revolution” in its center. Have your students think about words that come to their minds when they see this word. You can also prepare a handout/transparency beforehand with some of the letters omitted. Have the students provide the missing letters. See the next example: authoritarian regime


A map of Tunisia

demonstration riot

revolution protest oppression

spark injustice

While-reading: the Jigsaw activity

Ask your students to sit in groups. Have each group read a section of the text (worksheets 1, 2 and 3)and answer the questions. When they have completed this task, ask the students to join a different group. Hand out the worksheet “All about Tunisia” (worksheet 4)to the new groups. In these groups, have the students share their answers to complete the handout.

Welcome to Sidi Bouzid

Demonstrations in Tunis




Section A:

Tunisia is the northernmost country in Africa. It is a Maghreb country and is bordered by Algeria to the west, Libya to the southeast, and the Mediterranean Sea to the north and east. Its area is almost 165,000 square kilometres (64,000 sq mi), with an estimated population of just over 10.4 million. Its name is derived from the capital Tunis located in the north-east. The south of the country is composed of the Sahara desert, with much of the remainder consisting of particularly fertile soil and 1,300 kilometres (810 mi) of coastline. Questions: Read the text and answer the following questions: 1. Is Tunisia located in Europe? 2. Which countries share a border with Tunisia? 3. Is Tunisia a big country? Why? 4. How long is the Tunisian coastline? Worksheet 1

Section B:

Tunisia was occupied by Vandals during the 5th century AD, Byzantines in the 6th century, and Arabs in the 8th century. Under the Ottoman Empire, Tunisia was known as “Regency of Tunis”. It passed under French protectorate in 1881. After obtaining independence in 1956 the country took the official name of the “Kingdom of Tunisia” at the end of the reign of Lamine Bey and the Husainid Dynasty. With the proclamation of the Tunisian republic on July 25, 1957, the nationalist leader Habib Bourguiba became its first president. Questions: Read the text and answer the following questions: 1. What was Tunisia called under the Ottoman Empire? 2. Was Tunisia occupied by Britain in the 19th century? 3. When did Tunisia become independent? 4. Who was the first Tunisian president? Worksheet 2


The Tunisian English Teaching Forum | Issue 5 April 2011


Section C:

Tunisia was governed by the authoritarian regime of President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali from 1987 to 2011 before he fled following wide-ranging protests. Mohamed Bouazizi (March 29, 1984 – January 4, 2011‎), was a Tunisian street vendor from Sidi Bouzid who set himself on fire on December 17, 2010, in protest of the confiscation of his wares and the humiliation that was inflicted on him by a municipal official. This act became the catalyst for the 2010–2011 Tunisian revolution, sparking deadly demonstrations and riots throughout Tunisia in protest of social and political issues in the country. Anger and violence intensified following Bouazizi’s death, leading then-President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali to step down on January 14, 2011, after 23 years in power. Questions: Read the text and answer the following questions: 1. Who ruled Tunisia from 1987 to 2011? 2. Who was Mohamed Bouazizi? Where was he from? 3. Why did he set himself on fire? 4. When did the ex-president step down? Worksheet 3

All ABout Tunisia

Share the information you learnt in your first group to complete this worksheet about Tunisia: General Information about the country Country Capital Continent Neighboring countries Population Coastline (miles) Timeline

Complete the following timeline 6th Century

................ ................ .............

5th century AD

....................... ....................... ..............



..................... ..................... ..................... ..................... .................. ..................

8th century

..................... ..................... ..................


.......................... .......................... ........

Jan. 14th, 2011

..................... ..................... ..................

Dec. 17th, 2010

.............................. ..............................

Worksheet 4




Post – reading

You can ask your students to write a summary or to do a web quest about another country. “Jigsaw reading also fits in well with the integration of the four skills as the students have to read, speak, listen to each other and finally write a summary or make a poster.”


Other variations: The tasks that are presented here are only some of the possibilities. The texts can also be used to teach the simple past, the passive voice, irregular verbs, word formation, etc.. Conclusion

Jigsaw reading is a technique that can encourage students’ involvement and enhance their reading skills. It develops their interpersonal and communication skills as well. It also fits in well with the integration of the four skills as the students have to read, speak, listen to each other and finally write a summary or make a poster.

The Tunisian English Teaching Forum | Issue 5 April 2011



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The Tunisian ELT Forum  

Online magazine for EFL teachers. Issue 5, April 2011

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