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TUTORIAL How To Create Interactive Activities Using JClic Author


ONLINE RESOURCES FOR TEACHERS INTERVIEW Patricia Donaghy, teacher of ICT at Inchicore College of Further Education in Dublin, talks about her websites, ICT, and educational software. Issue 4

TEACHING, LEARNING, CLASSROOM AND FAIRNESS MANAGEMENT By Steve Peha FOR YOUNG Meeting the Needs of All Learners LEARNERS in a Diverse Society.


By Noamen Amara


TUNISIAN English Teaching Forum

Editor’s note,

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:

Once again, a new school year and a new issue of the Tunisian English Teaching Forum e-magazine! This is the second year and the fourth issue of our magazine and we hope that we have made some addition to the world of education. But, let me, first of all, congratulate the magazine readers and all the teachers on these two happy events. It seems that in the modern world we live in today, school has no other choice but adapt its role to the requirements of the progress in information and communication technologies. The ministry of education in Tunisia has started a huge project for the integration of modern technologies in education. Part and parcel of this project is the equipment of prep schools with “mobile” language labs. For this reason, the main focus in this 4th issue of the magazine is the integration of ICT in teaching. Tarek Brahmi has interviewed Patricia Donaghy who is a renowned expert in this field. He also made a selection of some sites that teachers might use as resources to better refine their teaching. The JClic Tutorial in this issue aims to help the teachers design interactive activities suitable to the lab sessions. Noamen Amara suggests ways how to create a positive environment, which fosters learning in a classroom for young learners in his article. We hope that the techniques he suggests profit to the teachers in prep schools. Steve Peha is concerned with one of the biggest issues in modern school; meeting the needs of all learners to achieve fairness at school...No comment! Just read the article of an expert! With these contents in the 4th issue of the magazine, we want our readers to reflect on their teaching methods and sharpen their teaching experience.

Mohamed Salah Abidi

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

Sidi Bouzid, Tunisia.




teaching, learning, and fairness

Classroom management for young learners

Meeting the Needs of All Learners in a Diverse Society Through Reading STEVE PEHA

How to create a positive learning environment through good classroom management NOAMEN AMARA




Ten great online resources for teachers

Creating interactive activities with JClic author

Review of 10 websites that provide videos, photos and audio files for free



14 Interview

With our special guest for this issue Patricia Donaghy

24 The lighter side Riddles, puns, and jokes


By Steve Peha, President of TTMS

(Teaching That Makes Sense)

At the intersection of teaching, learning, and fairness is an approach to classroom practice that supports all children in reaching their full potential regardless of ability or background. Helping kids with different skill levels and life circumstances meet the uniform demands of a standardized curriculum has been legislated as the central challenge of reform. Ironically, addressing this challenge with true fairness in mind requires that we discard notions of uniformity and aspire to results beyond the paltry limits of conventional wisdom. THE TRUE MEASURE OF FAIRNESS is not

to be found in equal outcomes but in equal opportunity for students to learn as much as they can. There will always be some who learn more than others, just as there will always be some who are taller than others. But regardless of where students start out, we can make sure they progress as rapidly as possible. Maximizing progress maximizes performance—and maximizing the performance of every student is the key to maximizing our collective success.

“Maximizing progress maximizes performance—and maximizing the performance of every student is the key to maximizing our collective success.”

Every group of kids, even those grouped by ability, presents a range of talents and a variety of needs. So how are we to help all students learn the same thing at the same time when every student needs to learn something different? Consider a hypothetical example based on common sub-group achievement data from a diverse school district. Let’s pretend I’m a middle school Language Arts teacher. I have six classes and a mix of Asian, White,


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Black, and Hispanic/Latino students. On average, Asian students perform 5% higher than White students; White students perform 25% higher than Black students; and Black students perform 15% higher than Hispanic/ Latino students, some of whom may be recent immigrants to this country. I notice after the first month of school that many of my students struggle with spoken and written English grammar. Even though this is not on my list of state standards to teach at this time, I can’t abide the thought of kids heading off to high school without this basic skill set. I would be thrilled if every student arrived each year with the uniform knowledge specified by our standards. But this never happens. So I will teach first to the needs of the students and then to the requirements of the state. Most of my White and Asian students are likely to be ahead of my Black and Hispanic/Latino students when it comes to mastering Common Standard English (or CSE).

Some of my Black students may have grown up with a variant of CSE called Black English Vernacular (or BEV). Some of my Hispanic/ Latino students may have grown up learning different forms of Spanish. It’s possible that as many as half of my students may not have grown up speaking CSE, the language of academia and the business world that I feel responsible for ensuring that they master. I don’t want them lose their native languages: I want them to gain the language of power in our society.

“When teachers faced with diverse classrooms rely on a single traditional method that favors those students who need the least help, the smart get smarter, the rest tend to languish, and inequities compound.”

If I’m teaching native CSE-speakers and kids who grew up speaking languages other than CSE, the teaching of CSE grammar is potentially prejudicial. Yet all kids need to know CSE to have a fair shot at success in a CSE country. Kids who grew up as native CSE speakers may not need much help. But for poor or rural White children, BEV-speaking Black children, and Spanish-speaking Hispanic/Latino children, CSE may qualify as a foreign language. In situations like this, traditional approaches to instruction tend to exacerbate gaps in achievement. When teachers faced with diverse classrooms rely on a single traditional method that favors those students who need the least help, the smart get smarter, the rest tend to languish, and inequities compound. I don’t want to make that mistake. I want to teach in a way that allows CSE-speaking students to polish their existing skills while giving non-CSE speakers a chance to develop CSE skills in a more accessible way. To do this, I consider two things: First, resorting to the traditional grammar book approach—with the workbooks, worksheets, and Latin-inspired rules and vocabulary—isn’t likely to help all kids reach their potential. Second, the purpose of grammar instruction is not the memorization of terms and rules but the production of well-formed sentences. So I’ll throw out the grammar book and bring in real books. We’ll start by looking at well-formed CSE sentences in the books we read. I’ve already made sure that kids reading at different levels


have different books matched to their abilities and interests. This ensures that all kids will be able to start by analyzing sentence structures with which they are already familiar. For my part, I will provide model sentences from the simplest to the most complex. But we won’t engage in traditional diagramming or “find the error” exercises. This would be prejudicial, not to mention pointless as these approaches don’t help kids learn to create well-formed sentences. Instead, I’ll introduce a simple system for analyzing sentence structure that does not require an understanding of traditional grammar but that helps students develop important sentence-building skills nonetheless. To make it easier for kids to study sentence structure, I came up with a different way of describing sentences. This is not an “official” way. I’ve never seen it in a textbook or had it taught to me in a class. But I have found that it works well for just about everyone—from first graders to twelfth graders, even college kids and adults. Take a look at this smooth-sounding 41-word sentence: On a bitter cold winter morning, Malcolm Maxwell, a young man of simple means but good intentions, left the quiet country town in which he’d been raised and set off on the bold errand he’d been preparing for all his life. Notice that it’s made up of several distinct parts. In this system, there are four kinds of sentence parts: • Main Parts. These parts usually contain the main action of the sentence: “Malcolm Maxwell,… left the quiet country town in which he’d been raised,….” • Lead-In Parts. These parts often lead into other parts, especially main parts: “On a bitter cold winter morning,….” • In-Between Parts. These parts go in between other parts. They feel like a slight interruption: “…a young man of simple means but good intentions,….”


• Add-On Parts. These extra parts convey additional information about other parts: “…and set off on the bold errand he’d been preparing for all his life.”

“I’m often amazed at how well kids can learn to communicate simply by mastering six simple threepart patterns like these.”

Using this system, we can describe our model sentence like this: Lead-In + Main + InBetween + Main + Add-On. Here again are the five parts written out in order: • Lead-In Part. “On a bitter cold winter morning,” • Main Part. “Malcolm Maxwell,” • In-Between Part. “a young man of simple means but good intentions,” • Main Part, continued. “left the quiet country town in which he’d been raised,” • Add-On Part. “and set off on the bold errand he’d been preparing for all his life.” New sentences can be created by combining different parts in different ways. To make longer sentences, more parts can be added. But it’s surprising how effective we can be with just a few. By using this system to analyze the sentences kids read, and then using those sentences as models to help kids create their own increasingly complex sentence patterns, students develop a repertoire of well-formed sentence structures they can use in both speaking and writing.

“Laying an authentic foundation at the beginning improves learning later on. “


Here are six of the simpler patterns typical of those I use as models to help kids construct their own: • Intro + Main. As class began, Mr. Funston dreamed of a winter vacation. • Main + Add-On. He stared at the blank faces of his students, perplexed that he had nothing whatsoever to teach them today. • Main + In-Between + Main. The Lesser Antilles, he realized, would be the perfect place for a warm winter hiatus. • Main + Add-On + Add-On. He saw himself on the beach, baking in the midday sun, enjoying tasty snacks and refreshing beverages. • Intro + In-Between + Main. Ten minutes later, having dismissed his students early to lunch, he surfed the Net for a cheap trip to the West Indies. • Main + In-Between + Add-On.

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Mr. Funston leaned back in his big teacher chair, forgetting about the twelve pounds he’d put on at Thanksgiving, and immediately tumbled backward into the October bulletin board he’d neglected to take down. I’m often amazed at how well kids can learn to communicate simply by mastering six simple three-part patterns like these. There are, of course, many more complicated structures I will teach them. But if they can learn these six, they’ll be on their way. Best of all, it takes only a day or two to get this working. Will I introduce important terms like subject, verb, and object? Will I talk about the difference between a phrase and a clause? Sure I will. But not until kids are creating and analyzing solid sentences on their own. Will I point out that “inbetween parts” are sometimes referred to as “non-restrictive clauses”? Will I engage kids in complex discussions about where and when commas may be needed? Yes, I will layer on the traditional rules and vocabulary as time goes by—but always in the context of real sentences kids can understand and manipulate. I will build on a foundation of authentic competence in sentence construction prior to tackling less fundamental concerns. This simplified sentence structure system is the spoonful of sugar that makes the medicine of traditional grammar go down quickly and easily for everyone. Handling traditions after students have developed real skills is a matter of both efficiency and equity. When students can create and analyze well-formed sentences in Common Standard English, they have a meaningful context for the mastery of rules that are otherwise arcane. Laying an authentic foundation at the beginning improves learning later on. It also assures that students begin their study of traditional grammar on roughly equal footing. Most importantly, the small amount of time I take getting everyone up to speed in no way inhibits the growth of native CSE speakers who I will support in honing their skills with more complex patterns right away.

September 2010



“Labo des langues” is a forum hosted by the Tunisian Educational Web Portal. It addresses and discusses issues related to the use of language labs in Tunisian school. It also provides state-of-the-art resources and comprehensive tutorials about using Genesis, Multilab and Sanako. Technical support is also available for these and other applications. Make sure to read the article by Mrs. I.Madhavi about the use of language labs in teaching the English language here:



“New expectations, new populations, and new legislation reflect a society that has become more diverse, more pragmatic, and more eager to extend quality education to all. “

“Now, as we hold our kids to higher standards, we must hold ourselves to higher standards, too.”

This is only a small part of the sentence skills training I introduce to students. For a more complete curriculum, click here and here. Since grammar is the study of sentence construction, focusing on the sentence in all its variation, in a way that doesn’t depend on explicit grammatical knowledge, turns out to be the key to teaching an otherwise difficult set of concepts to a group of diverse learners. We won’t cover this information all at once. That’s poor teaching, and another prejudicial approach that deprives advanced students of mastery and others of competence. Instead, after a few days of introduction, I’ll weave this material into our reading and writing throughout the year. This “spiraling” of curriculum is essential when we expect kids to master difficult material. It also makes sense when the material we want them to master is something they’ll be using throughout the year—and throughout their lives. As sensible as spiraling is, however, the nature of curriculum standards, linear state benchmarks, annual high-stakes tests, and the increasingly popular practice of curriculum mapping, discourages teachers from revisiting important or hard to learn material on an on-going basis throughout the year. None of these aspects of reform-inspired instruction makes spiraling impossible. But each makes it harder. This is how sensible practice is often derailed, and how we encounter so-called “revenge effects” or unintended consequences of popular reform concepts. In this case, our quest for standardized learning outcomes may encourage us to use a “standard” traditional approach to instruction that fails to account for non-standardized learners at both high and low levels. In our quest to close learning gaps, we ironically end up perpetuating them or making them worse. But with everything we have to do these days, why go to the trouble of developing a new way to teach sentence construction. We already have a way that has been used for generations. Why not stick with the tried and true? Because many teachers have tried it, and the truth it rarely works. Many things that may have been true when older methods were


The Tunisian English Teaching Forum | Issue 4

created are not true today. We have higher expectations now, and we seek to educate a broader range of learners. Three generations ago, a patchwork 8th grade education was not only common but satisfactory. Many racial and ethnic groups were schooled in sub-standard circumstances. Some kids weren’t educated at all. New expectations, new populations, and new legislation reflect a society that has become more diverse, more pragmatic, and more eager to extend quality education to all. Changes in time and culture inspire changes in method. Best of all, with effectiveness and equity as our guides, new methods can be optimized not only to help kids who might otherwise struggle but to provide advanced learning opportunities as well. Perhaps the answer to the riddle of education reform is simpler than we have led ourselves to believe. Perhaps the key to better learning is simply better teaching. Traditional teaching was created for a different time, a time when we aspired to educate a smaller and less diverse population for a simpler world with fewer requirements. In generations past, we didn’t think much about teaching, learning, and fairness. We taught the way we taught. Some kids learned, some didn’t. And most of us never worried about whether education was fair. Now, as we hold our kids to higher standards, we must hold ourselves to higher standards, too. Anything less would be to knowingly perpetuate generations of inequity along with a grossly inefficient system that continues to produce poor results at high cost and with great frustration. In expressing our sense of fairness, then, we should strive not to close achievement gaps but to help all students maximize their achievement. In any unit of study, kids who start out farther behind will have to be inspired to work harder and to dedicate more time. Kids who may already be competent will have to have to be encouraged to master advanced skills. Our teaching must account for both of these realities. This will reduce gaps in achievement over time even if it never erases them completely.

September 2010

Kids with more to learn must be given a reasonable opportunity to learn it. At the same time, other students must not be held back from pursuing new skills and more advanced understanding. In the end, if everyone learns as much as they can, the most meaningful gaps will narrow, not because we’ve held some back or pushed others ahead by diverting resources from the more privileged to the less privileged, but because kids with more to learn tend to make faster progress through less complicated material. At the intersection of teaching, learning, and fairness, striving for standardized outcomes is inherently unfair to kids with high preexisting skill levels who will likely learn faster and achieve more if they are only given the chance to do so. Striving for statesanctioned minimum competence is also unfair to kids with low pre-existing skill levels who are rarely given the chance to develop meaningful abilities. Instead, true fairness demands that we work toward mastery for all by optimizing individual progress and by ensuring that each student learns as much as possible.

“True fairness demands that we work toward mastery for all by optimizing individual progress”

consistently closer to the goal of achieving true fairness in education as all students move closer to realizing their full potential. © 1995-2010 by Teaching That Makes Sense, Inc. Used by permission. For more information, visit our website at or contact us at

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.

In a system of standards, tests, and legislated learning timelines, fairness requires us to teach with more regard for our students than our state. Official benchmarks are too low and too often manipulated— through test modifications, retesting provisions, and the lowering of cut scores— to be accurate indicators of meaningful achievement. Nor is learning is as linear or as consistent as annual standards and tests imply. True fairness demands that we set real-world expectations for all students and that we provide the tools and support they need to meet them, while at the same time accounting for individual differences in where kids begin and how they proceed. In striving for fairness, we acknowledge that different students will achieve differently even under equitable conditions. But if we teach with individual learning as our focus, and if we work to assure that students learn as much as they can, we will move



Classroom Management for Young Learners

By Noamen Amara, Teacher of English

“Classroom management refers to the ways in which student behaviour, movement and interaction during a lesson are organized and controlled by the teacher” Richards (1990, 10) . [Discipline is] “to maintain order and to keep the group on task and moving ahead, not to spot and punish those students who are misbehaving.“( Greenwood and Parkay, 1989) THE BEST TEACHERS anticipate when misbehaviours are likely to occur and intervene early to prevent them. The most effective interventions are subtle, brief and almost private. They do not, therefore interfere with classroom activities.

“The way the students are seated in the classroom will often determine the dynamics of the lesson.”


STUDENTS’ SEATING The way the students are seated in the classroom will often determine the dynamics of the lesson. Indeed, a simple change in the seating pattern can make an incredible difference to group coherence and student satisfaction. In many cases the seating has been a crucial element in the success or failure of the lesson. In some cases, the desks are fixed to the ground or the school has strict rules about not moving the furniture. Student numbers are also going to be an issue. Teachers have different preferences for seating arrangements – each

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group is seated round small tables is often one choice. This is probably the best option for the larger classes. For smaller numbers and with adult or teenage students I think the horseshoe shape, which I find has all of the advantages of groups, and none of the disadvantages. A horseshoe may be desks in a U-shape with a hollow centre, students in a semicircle on chairs with arm-rests and no desks, or students seated around three sides of a large table, with the teacher at one end. In any case, whatever seating pattern you choose or is imposed on you, the class is likely to be more successful if you keep the following principles in mind: Try and maximize eye contact. Make sure students are seated at a comfortable distance from each other. Think in advance about how you will organize changing partners or changing groups.

CLASS RULES At the beginning of the school year, establish the class rules. Discuss these rules with the students and explain the consequences of misbehavior.

“Language is best learned through the close collaboration and communication among students.”

STUDENTS’ NAMES • Make two sets of name tags – one for the child’s table space or desk, and one for the child to wear around the neck for special classes. • Make it private: call to desk, whisper, nonverbal cues. • Briefly talk to student/assess penalties. • Time out at desk or another room. • Communicate positive expectations to students: convey confidence in students’ ability to do well and maintain high expectations. TEACHER TALK & DRAWING ATTENTION • Don’t speak when children aren’t listening and ready. Wait. • Establish a signal for getting the group’s attention: 1. Turn off the lights 2. Clap a pattern with your hands 3. Say “Freeze!” and everyone halts right where they are, like a statue. Then say “Melt!” when you are ready for them to move again. • Practice numbers, in the beginning, even when children are doing well, just so they get the idea of how to respond to your signals. Then praise them. Example: “One, two, three eyes on me” • Establish good listening habits for story time. Sometimes we read and listen, and sometimes we read and discuss, but we always listen. GIVING INSTRUCTION • It is better to make your instructions for primary students precise and concise. • Use puppets to help with classroom management. Puppets can whisper in the teacher’s ear, and they can write messages to the class. • Compliment leadership in students. “Oh, I like the way Antonio is ready!” will


cause everyone to turn to look at the ready student and to get ready also. • Use the same standards for everyone – no favorites! USING PAIR AND GROUP WORK One of the successful ways, if the teacher is resourceful and skilful enough, to motivate his/her students to participate in the lesson is to use “pair work” or “Group work” appropriately. Language is best learned through the close collaboration and communication among students. This type of collaboration results in benefits for all or both learners. In fact, learners can help each other while working on different types of tasks such as writing dialogues, interviews, drawing pictures and making comments about them, play roles, etc… SETTING TIME LIMITS • You should set time to each activity when you are planning your lesson so that you would know if you would be able to finish your objectives or not. • You should tell you students about the time assigned for each activity when you give them a task to do in class. • Your students should gradually be aware of the importance of the time issue and respect it. ROLE PLAY This is a technique to vary the pace the lesson and to respond to the fundamental notion of variety in teaching. Teachers are advised to use the role- play activity in order to motivate their students and to help the less motivated learners take part in the lesson. Besides, certain tasks in the student’s book are followed by a role- play activity where it becomes a necessity to undergo such an activity. As good examples of that we can state: the hide (item) and guessing game, dramatizing an interview of customer and shop assistant, doctor and patient conversation, etc…


“You need to include an “early finisher” activity with every assignment.”

TASKS FOR EARLY FINISHERS This especially happens when students finish an assignment while other students are still working on it. That’s why you need to include an “early finisher” activity with every assignment. Think in advance for possible activities, options including extension activities related to the current topic, journal writing, silent reading, and educational games WHOLE CLASS FEEDBACK Take a look at the following classroom exchange: Whole class: He bought a sandwich. (Sea of noise in which the teacher hears the answer) Teacher: And number 4? Whole class: He drank orange juice. (Sea of noise in which the teacher hears the answer) Sound familiar? How many times have you done feedback like this? Probably many. Why do we fall into the pattern of getting feedback in this way? Is it the easiest way? The quickest? I began to realize that generally it was only the stronger or the more confident students who would shout out the answers. When I looked at individual student’s work, I saw that they didn’t always have the correct answer and, more importantly, they didn’t know what the correct answer was. Feedback is better checked through each student’s response on a written form paper.

“These clear objectives provide a guide to what you want to achieve and can be the basis of the lesson structure.”

Elementary Classroom Management Survival Tips classroom-management/6752.html Emmer, Edmund & Evertson, Carolyn, Teach a Book: Classroom Management for Middle and High School Teachers, PowerPoint presentation. arly+finishers+for+classroom+management& ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:enUS:official&client=firefox-a Greenwood and Parkay (1989), cited by Gary Sturt classman.htm One stop english http://www.onestopenglish. com/section.asp?docid=146446 Richards (1990, 10), cited in Encyclopedic Dictionary of Applied Linguistics, edited by Keith Johnson and Helen Johnson. tocnode?id=g9780631214823_chunk_ g97806312148237_ss1-12

USING WHITEBOARD • Make sure students easily see board. • Have your lesson objectives clear for your students. Write them on the board or get the kids to know them at the beginning – by the end of this lesson I will have learned…… These clear objectives provide a guide to what you want to achieve and can be the basis of the lesson structure. A map on the board can help to show the kids where you are going with the lesson. References Cole and Chan ( 1987), cited by Gary Sturt classman.htm


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September 2010

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.

Good classroom management creates a productive learning environment .



Patricia Donaghy T his issue’ s special guest

Interviewed by

Tarak Brahmi, Teacher of English

Patricia Donaghy is an ICT Teacher in Dublin, Ireland. She has been teaching ICT for over 20 years. She is also a Course Director, Moodle Administrator and Google Apps Administrator. Patricia has recently completed an MA in Digital Media Development for Education from the University of Limerick. Patricia Donaghy is particularly interested in Web2.0 tools and free educational resources that are available on the internet. She has been reviewing and contributing links to cutting-edge web2.0 tools and open source software for use by teachers and learners for years now in her excellent websites: and http://pdonaghy.blogspot. com Her has more than 1100 members from all over the world. Could you tell our readers more about Patricia Donaghy?

“As well as being interested in free educational resources, I also have a keen interest in professional development for teachers and I was part of the help desk team for the K12 Online Conference in 2008.”


I INITIALLY QUALIFIED with a BSC in Mathematics and Chemistry and it was during my HDip year in Trinity College, Dublin that I started to pursue my interest in ICT. Currently, I am teaching ICT at Inchicore College of Further Education in Dublin. As well as being interested in free educational resources, I also have a keen interest in professional development for teachers and I was

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part of the help desk team for the K12 Online Conference in 2008. Following on from this, I produced two in-service modules for teacher training in Ireland namely ‘An Introduction to Blogging’ and ‘Dynamic Website Creation’. This year, I presented my first online professional development webinar on ‘Using Google docs in the Foreign Language Classroom’. Outside of teaching, I love sport (playing and watching), music, travelling and growing my own vegetables!!

When did you first start thinking about creating your websites? Why?

“Both of my personal blogs ‘Using ICT in Further Education’ and ‘Free Resources for Education’ reflect my deep interest in using quality open source and free software in education.”

“The issue of ICT competence should be dealt with during initial teacher training so that newly qualified teachers will have gained the right ICT pedagogical knowledge and skills before they even reach the classroom.”

Shortly after completing my Masters in 2006, I attended an inspirational talk given by Ewan McIntosh (http://edu.blogs. com/edublogs/) who enthusiastically demonstrated just how relevant many of the new web2.0 technologies are for education. He advised us that the best way to discover what Web2.0 could offer was to become immersed in the new technology and so this led me to start blogging. Indeed, both of my personal blogs ‘Using ICT in Further Education’ and ‘Free Resources for Education’ reflect my deep interest in using quality open source and free software in education. At the same time, I began searching for other edubloggers who shared similar educational interests. I found that despite the availability of large general blog directories it was not easy to pick out other edubloggers with similar interests. The existing search engines, blog directories and the wonderful ‘Support Blogging’ website ( Links+to+School+Bloggers), by Steve Hargadon (http://www.stevehargadon. com/), did not help me narrow down my search results quickly and effectively. I decided to create a Directory specifically for edubloggers which would provide relevant search results quickly and easily. So, in January 2008, the International Edubloggers Directory was born! Since then, the International Edutwitters Directory has been added to the fold, reflecting the current popularity, with educators, of the Twitter micro blogging platform. ( edutwittersdir.html) You have been teaching ICT for more than twenty years now. Do you think teachers have developed a more positive view of ICT during this period?


I think overall, probably, yes. There has been more emphasis on providing relevant professional development in this area and that has certainly helped. It is great to see teachers embracing technology and using ICT in their classrooms in ways that they have not before. Although, having said that, it is still not uncommon to find teachers who are not comfortable using ICT even something quite straight forward as email, which has been around for a long time now. So long as teachers have the choice as whether to use ICT or not, some will and some won’t and I don’t see that changing. Personally, I think the issue of ICT competence should be dealt with during initial teacher training so that newly qualified teachers will have gained the right ICT pedagogical knowledge and skills before they even reach the classroom. From the IT 2000 initiative by the DES (Department of Education and Science) in 1997 to the recent report of the ICT in Schools Joint Advisory Group, there has been giant steps in terms of “investing ICT in schools” in Ireland. The European Commission’s 2006 survey found that all Irish schools use computers for teaching. Irish teachers who used computers in class “rank top in Europe” in many areas (using email, using text processors, students’ motivation, etc..). What factors, according to you, account for this success? I think there are a number of factors that have attributed to this success. Firstly, the funding that came with the IT2000 initiative, in the region of £55 million spread over the three years of the project. Obviously, this enabled schools to put the required ICT infrastructure in place. Secondly, the establishment of the National Centre for Technology in Education (NCTE), a specific body entrusted with implementing


IT2000 (, was crucial. Through the NCTE, the schools broadband program, professional development training in dedicated education centers throughout the country and the provision of relevant digital resources have all been implemented and have proved to be very beneficial. The Scoilnet portal ( and the Imagebank photo sharing website ( are widely used on a regular basis. Thirdly, the Computer Education Society of Ireland (CESI), an association of practicing teachers from primary, post primary and third level, has provided tremendous impetus and support for teachers around the country for many years. Founded in 1973, CESI ( has been instrumental in maintaining the development of methodologies that help to combine new technologies with proven pedagogy. Currently, CESI run a very useful and active online forum for all interested educators in Ireland. (




You have been reviewing and recommending web2.0 tools for teachers for many years now. Which are the five most important tools that every teacher should be equipped with and why? “I think that every teacher should be familiar with the concept of cloud computing and exactly what Web2.0 tools have to offer.”


For subject specific tools, my recommendations would vary. For example Google Earth and Google Maps could be particularly useful for geography teachers whereas Wolfram|Alpha would be especially useful for mathematics teachers. However, when considering general tools then I think that every teacher should be familiar with the concept of cloud computing and exactly what Web2.0 tools have to offer. It is very hard to limit the choice to just five but here goes: 1. Google Docs (or equivalent) for sharing and collaborating with fellow teachers and students. Google Docs provides such an easy way for groups to work together on any type of word, spreadsheet, drawing, or presentation document. I would also include Gmail

The Tunisian English Teaching Forum | Issue 4


and Google Calendar here. They are excellent communication tools and both can be set up to send SMS messages directly to a mobile phone. Wikis (, or other) for collaborative project work. They are user-friendly, easy to edit, enable addition of multimedia and encourage students to actively engage with a ‘live’ document. Wikis also provide a forum area, which allows students to take part in discussions and provide feedback. A VLE (virtual learning environment) such as Moodle ( for providing 24/7 access to course material, resources, quizzes, grades and much more. In the absence of a VLE, teachers should be able to set up their own Google Site, which gives a simple but effective way for providing access to course material. There is even a ready made classroom template available. Social Bookmarking (http://www., or other) for organizing information found on the Internet. Tagging content correctly is an increasingly important skill applying to all media and not just websites. These bookmarking sites also provide networking options and they can be used as search tools. Content sharing sites (,, and others) for uploading, downloading and searching for relevant content. There is a huge amount of shared content already available and in some cases there may be no need to “reinvent the wheel”

What reasons would you give to a teacher who is dead set against high-tech in the classroom to convince her/him to adhere to the use of ICT? I would say that our students have changed. They are now growing up with many different types of high-tech technology and are very comfortable using ICT. It is part of their daily life.

September 2010

“Students growing up in the 21st Century require new skills in order to succeed in their chosen careers and competence in using new technologies is very much part of this.”

“I think that every student should have the same opportunity to use quality educational software regardless of their economic circumstances.”

It makes no sense, therefore, that ICT should be excluded from their school experience. ICT can and should be used to motivate students, to enhance their learning experience and to make their time in school more relevant for them. ICT is here to stay; the Internet is here to stay. It is imperative that we, as teachers, recognize this and adapt our methodologies accordingly. Students growing up in the 21st Century require new skills in order to succeed in their chosen careers and competence in using new technologies is very much part of this. Thankfully, there are already many teachers who are leading the way by using ICT innovatively in their classrooms and they are sharing their experience. You are not alone and you can learn from and with your colleagues. Do not be afraid to find out how ICT can enhance your teaching and improve your students’ learning experience. There are many social networks now available online for teachers to come together and share their experiences. Classroom2.0 (http://www.classroom20. com/) is by far the largest facilitating over 48,000 educators. But, there are many more and you could use the Edubloggers’ Social Networks List as a starting place to find out what’s available! (http://edubloggerdir. To find out more, why not join in the forthcoming K-12 Online Conference (w/o 11th October 2010), which provides an outstanding opportunity for free, collaborative and accessible professional development for educators around the world. ( Do you think that educational software should be free? Yes, absolutely. I think that every student should have the same opportunity to use quality educational software regardless of their economic circumstances. Cost should not be a prohibiting factor for either educational institutions or individual learners. Interestingly, many Web2.0 companies do


make their software freely available relying on indirect sources of revenue, such as advertising, rather than charging the end user directly. Other Web2.0 companies offer a basic version for free as well as a more enhanced version requiring payment. Indeed, some companies provide their fully enhanced version free for educational use. Google Apps for Education being an excellent example. ( com/a/edu/) How do you see education in the next 50 years? ICT has been around for a few decades now. What next? I think it is very hard to predict what will happen next. How many people, 50 years ago, would have predicted the advent of personal computers, mobile devices and the explosion of the Internet as we know it today! However, I do believe the future lies firmly in cloud computing. This platform provides a new way for delivering knowledge and resources as well as useful productivity and educational applications. I imagine there will be much more collaborative and global learning taking place. Students will have more choices about where, what and when they learn and with who. On a very practical level keyboarding may well become an outdated skill as touchscreen and voice operated devices become the norm. And, there is talk already of Web3.0 where we can look forward to augmented reality and a semantic web. Anne Mirtschin paints a lovely vision in her ‘Class of 2020’ article (http://murcha. I think it would be marvelous to see this kind of flexibility coming into education, although, I am not so sure it will happen as quickly as Anne predicts. In general, educators tend to be very conservative and slow to change their methodologies and practices. But, change will come and hopefully sooner rather than later!


What are your plans for the future?

“If you have not already done so, I would strongly encourage you to join in and be part of what is truly a dynamic and supportive global online education community.”

I would hope to continue contributing to the online education community through the ongoing publication of my blogs as well as taking part in and delivering more professional development webinars. I have, also, been following the work of another inspirational educator, Vicki Davis (http://, who is a co-founder of the Flat Classroom Project (, and feel that I am now ready to start involving my students in the online education community. I intend, this year, to start ‘flattening my classroom’ and enabling my students to take part in global collaborative projects. For me, this is the next logical step since the world we live in is becoming ever more connected. I would love to provide my students with relevant educational opportunities to experience, and learn from, this connectivity. Any last thoughts/words for our readers? If you have not already done so, I would strongly encourage you to join in and be part of what is truly a dynamic and supportive global online education community.

Edubloggers Directory Using ICT in Further Education


The Tunisian English Teaching Forum | Issue 4

September 2010

JClic author

is an excellent tool for creating interactive activities for your learners. And it is Free! 



Creating interactive activities using JClic author By Tarak Brahmi, Teacher of English

JClic is an application for the creation of interactive multimedia activities. It has been used for a wide range of purposes but it is particularly ideal for the creation of educational CDs and interactive tasks for school children. There are seven types of activities that you can create with JClic author which include association games or activities, crosswords, puzzles, word searches, memory games, etc.. Objectives of this tutorial:

THE AIM OF THIS TUTORIAL is to help you to have a grip on JClic author and to create interactive educational activities with confidence. You are going to follow a step-by-step guide that will demonstrate how you can create a simple interactive activity with JClic author and how your students can initiate this activity from JClic player.


The following steps presume that you have already installed JClic and JClic author on your PC. (See installation).

Installation: “JClic is a great tool but it won’t help make your task any better if you don’t plan it well and think about whether or not it is appropriate for your students.”

It is almost straightforward. But this is not the foremost focus of this tutorial as installation is explained in thorough detail in the application’s website here: jclic_offline.htm

Activity description:

This is going to be a matching exercise. The students need to match a set of words with the corresponding 20

The Tunisian English Teaching Forum | Issue 3 4

May September 2010 2010

phonetic symbols. STEP 1: PLANNING Before starting to work with JClic author, we need to think about what we really want to do. It is always helpful to answer a few questions and to plan the task on a piece of paper in advance. JClic is a great tool but it won’t help make your task any better if you don’t plan it well and think about whether or not it is appropriate for your students’ level, whether the time you assigned is enough for the task completion, etc... These are a few things to consider when designing an activity: Are you going to use clip arts, videos or animations? Will they add to the general purpose of the task? Where can you get them from? How much time will your students need to spend on this task? Do you need to record your voice? Is the activity better presented as a matching exercise, a gap-filling activity, a memory game, etc? Do you need to add some feedback? Will it be written feedback or audio feedback?

There are of course some other key questions to ask depending on the activity. For this activity, these are some of the decisions that were made beforehand: • There will be an information screen to help the students know what the task is about and what they are required to do. • Some of the phonetic symbols were downloaded from the internet and saved as .jpg because it is not possible to create them directly on JClic author. • A clipart was downloaded from the internet to be on the information screen. (It will show that it is a task about phonetic symbols). • There will be 16 words and 16 phonetic symbols. For the sake of space management, we will have two tables (4 rows * 4 columns each). • Students will have 60 seconds to answer the question. (We will need a time counter to do that). • If the student/user manages to answer in time, we will honor her/him with a “Well done!” message. If s/he fails, the message will be: “You need more practice! Try again!” STEP 2: IMPORTING MEDIA FILES Click on the JCic author shortcut on your desktop to start the application. The first thing that you need to do is to create a new project: File->New Project .. (or Ctrl + N for Windows)..

After clicking OK, the title text field will be automatically added for you. You need to add a brief description of the project, the author(s) name(s), the school, the skin (color) of the user interface. (See screenshot).

The title will be added automatically here Add A short description of the project here

Let’s say that you called this project “phonetic symbols” or any label that makes sense. Then, you added the name of the author (you), etc.. When this is done, you can move to the second tab: Media library. This enables you to import all the media that you will need later like videos, clipart, audio files and so on..

1 click here to activate the media library


The following small window will pop up. Provide a name for the project and choose a location. You can leave the default location. Add the project’s Title here

click here to add your pictures and audio files

Click on the first icon to import your media files. Before importing your files, you should put them in one folder for ease of navigation and a better organization.



STEP 3: DESIGNING THE ACTIVITY Now that all your media files are in place, we can start designing the first activity. Click on the Activities tab ( the third tab). Then click on the first button (see screenshot).

You can call the activity “phonetic pairs” then click OK. Now you will have “phonetic pairs” show on the left of the application’s window. Just in front of it, there are four tabs now: Options, Window, Messages, and Panel.

1 2 click here to activate the Activities tab

click here to add a new activity

This adds a new activity to the project. A new window will pop up. You need to choose the type of activity from the list. You will choose “complex association” from the list as this is what you need for this type of task (matching pairs).

STEP 4: SETTING THE OPTIONS In this step, you will add a description (see screenshot above) to the activity and choose a skin (colour for the interface of this activity). A very important step is setting the counters: make sure that Time counter is checked. Set the time to 60 in Max time (use the + and – to set the time). Also check the score counter to keep track of the user’s scores.


Choose “complex association” from the list

2 22

STEP 5: DESIGNING THE MAIN WINDOW. Now, let’s move to the next tab: the Window tab. Here you can pick the background colour for both the main window and the smaller window –also called game window-(where the content is located). (See screenshot on the next page).

add a name for the activity here

The Tunisian English Teaching Forum | Issue 4

September 2010

STEP 7: THE FUN STAFF It is here that the real work happens. But do not worry. Just follow the steps and you will get used to it very quickly. When you click on the Panel tab, you will be presented with four sub-tabs: Grid A, Grid B, Layout and Relationship.

Click here to choose a background colour for your activity

In Grid A you will add a table containing your words: remember that you want to have 16 words. So, you will set the number of rows to 4, and the number of columns to 4. You also need to define the size of each cell (width and height). Let us start: keep “rectangular” for the shape because we want the cells to be rectangular. Set the number of rows to 4 and the number of columns to 4. Now set the width of the cell to something like 56 and the height to 46, for instance. (See screenshot).

STEP 6: ADDING THE MESSAGES Next to the Window tab is the Messages tab. Here you can enter the text of the messages/feedback that will be shown to the user when the activity starts, when it is finished, and when the user fails to answer correctly. Just click on the bar, set the text and style (color, font, size and click OK. Do the same for all three strips.


add text here then choose colours and font from style

click here to activate the Cell contents



Now click on the first cell in Grid A. (See the next screenshot for more details). Then, click on the small rectangle next to image to add an image to the table. When you do, another window will pop up (it is called multimedia object selection). Select the picture (we added that in the media library in step 2) that you want and click OK. Repeat this step until you have the 16 words/pictures in this table.


Click on this cell. A window will pop up: it is called “Cell contents”


click here: a new window will pop up: choose an image and click ok


When you have finished, you will have something like this: STEP 9: CREATING THE RELATIONS OR SETTING THE ANSWERS In the Relationship tab, you are going to match each word in the first table with the right phonetic symbol in the second table. When you click on a cell containing a word, an arrow will appear. Do not release the mouse until the tip of the arrow is on the right phonetic symbol on the second table. Repeat this step for all the words. (See the next screenshot).

Do these same steps for Grid B. This time, however, you will choose the phonetic symbols (.gif or .jpg format) instead of the words. Check “scramble” if you want the phonetic symbols to be randomized every time the user tries the task. STEP 8: CHOOSING A LAYOUT Now move to the Layout tab. You have four layouts to choose from. If you want the two tables to be next to each other, you can choose (AB or BA), etrc... Click on the four layouts to see what happens. 24

The Tunisian English Teaching Forum | Issue 4

September 2010

FINAL STEP: TESTING AND PREVIEWING THE ACTIVITY Now, all is left to do is to preview the activity by clicking the green play button (next to the “add new activity” button). Test your activity and see if it is working as expected. Make changes as needed and test again.

click on the preview button to test the activity

Screen” form the list in the window. Give it the name of “Info screen”. The info screen will appear on the left panel, just after the “Phonetic pairs” activity that we created earlier. Next to it, you will see four tabs: Options, Window, Messages, and Panel. Like for the previous activity, you can add a description and choose a skin. But make sure all the counters are unchecked. In the Window tab, choose a colour for the main and game windows. In the Messages tab, you can add an initial message. We added “How much do you know about phonetic symbols?” In the Panel tab, choose an image. Click on the window to add some text. And that is it. If you want you can add more rows, make the window larger, etc.. Do not be afraid of playing with the different values and see what they can do. The following information screen includes one image and some text.

If everything is OK, your activity may look like this one when tested:

ONE ADDITIONAL BUT IMPORTANT STEP: CREATING AN INFORMATION SCREEN: This step is as important as creating the activity itself. However, as you will see, it is much easier. The information screen is like the cover page of a book. It tells the user what the activity is about and what he/ she is expected to do. It often includes a title, a simple drawing, clipart, a video, etc.. It can also serve as a contents page and can take the user to the task he/she wants to do if there are many tasks instead of just one. Let’s get it done! In the Activities tab (It is next to the Media library tab), click on Add a new activity button. Choose “Information


SAVING AND DELIVERING THE PROJECT Now, everything is ready. You need to save the project and have your students open it with JClic player. To do this, save your project on the desktop or in the projects folder in your JClic application. (Got to File-> Save..) Now let us open the activity with JClic player. First, start JClic player by clicking on the icon on your desktop. Choose File-> Open File.. Browse to where you saved your project. Your project should be named something like



TUNISIAN English Teaching Forum

Articles Resources for teachers Test bank Workshops Congratulations! You have just finished creating your first activity using JClic author. Now, it is time to think of more resourceful ways to create other great activities for your students. Share them with other colleagues on the Tunisian ELT Forum. You can download this activity and the related media files from here: (Check the Download Area on the left sidebar and click on the “Issue 4 tutorial files�) or from here:

and now... JClic activities for 7th Year Basic Education

You can also check the forum for some other activities for the 7th year Basic Education here:

For more courses and tutoroials on JClic:

New look...New aspirations!


The Tunisian English Teaching Forum | Issue 4

September 2010

10 GREAT ONLINE RESOURCES FOR TEACHERS By Tarak Brahmi, Teacher of English

Although the internet is the ideal place to look for materials and resources for classroom use, the problem is often not about the abundance of materials but about their relevance, appropriateness, copyright issues and quality. In this article, we review a few websites that offer free and high-quality resources appropriate for teachers and learners. We particularly focus on those websites that offer engaging videos, high-resolution images or cliparts and useful audio files.

Free & engaging videos ActivityTV has been chosen one of the Top Ten Fun Websites by Family Fun for a very good reason: it is excellent! The website has a great variety of videos which show students how to create origami, to conduct simple yet engaging science experiments, to do magic tricks, to cook recipes, to draw cartoons and much more. Link: Pros: The videos are motivating. Easy to navigate website. Nice design and vivid colors : National Geographic is a website that aims at inspiring people to care about the planet. The Kids videos section of the website has many videos suitable for kids. The themes include: Animals and pets, cartoons and movies, explorers, forces of nature, people and places, etc.. Link:


appealing to kids. Students can post their comments. Registration is free. The videos are often short and the instructions easy to follow. They teach kids plenty of new tricks/tips/ideas and new vocabulary at the same time: The language is contextualized. Cons: Some of the videos use advanced vocabulary so teachers have to choose only those videos that are suitable for their students both in terms of content and language difficulty. Pros: nicely presented content. Varied content. Content is accessible for all users: no registration or fees required to access or download the videos. Cons: the loading time for some of the videos is too long.


Kidstube :Like Youtube but exclusively for children, this website is a huge repository of videos by and for kids. This website allows kids to upload and share their videos online. Their classmates or friends can rate the videos and post a comment. The content includes animations,

music, pets and animals and contests. Link:

WatchNow: This website hosts thousands of short videos and other media. It is suitable for both teachers and students. It is rated “Kids safe”. Link:

The design is simple yet nice. A rating system, a summary of the activity content, and a search button are available.

Pros: It is very organized. The content is sorted in various topics. There is an age filter.

Pros: Free registration. Short downloading time. A varied content. Cons: The design is rather poor.

Cons: the content mostly targets intermediate to advanced level audiences.

High-resolution photos Public domain photos: the photos and clipart in this website are all public domain: They can be used for all purposes including commercial use. The themes include education, food, people, animals, landscapes, objects and much more. Photo rack displays a beautiful collection of free stocked photos. All photos are free to use for both personal and commercial projects. There are no limitations at all. But they would appreciate it if you post about them in your blog. Link: FileMorgue: Another website that offers images for commercial and non-commercial use. The free license states that users are free to remix, use the images for commercial use. Fair enough, they make it clear that users must not sell 28

The Tunisian English Teaching Forum | Issue 4

September 2010


Pros: a large collection of photos and cliparts to choose from. Cons: no download button. You need to use the “save as” option by rightclicking the mouse.

Pros: a nice design. It is very easy to download the images. Just click on the download button located under the desired image. No registration needed. Cons: None. or claim ownership of these files. Link: Pros: easy to navigate website. A huge stock of free photos which is well organized. Cons: None.

Free pixels: this is an excellent website for downloading high-res photos. It has more than 4,000 images in 40 categories. Link:

Pros: nice design. High- resolution images. Cons: A long “terms of use” page. But is really worth the time.

Free sound effects and audio files:

Flashkit: it is probably one of the best sound effects websites on the net but it has free and commercial sounds. Sounds can be downloaded in various formats like .mp3 or .wav. Link:

Pros: many sound effects to choose from. A preview button. High-quality sounds. No registration needed. Cons: not easy to navigate.

Free loops: This is a cool site that offers many sound effects for free. In addition to the drum, instrument and midi loops there is a nice collection of sound effects (animals, babies, nature, etc..). Link:

Cons: A rather limited collection.

In addition to the above links, you can also Photos: try the following websites: Videos: Sound effects:

Solutions to the riddles on page 30

A. B. C. D.

Are you asleep? It makes oil boil. Music Baby giraffes

E. F. G. H.

Your breath Remove the “S”. Any dog, buildings can’t jump. Incorrectly

Other websites to try

Pros: Sounds are very well organized. There is a preview button next to each sound.

The Lighter side

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

A- Which question can never be answered with “Yes”? B- Why is the letter B like fire? C- What word will make you sick if you take away the first letter? D-What do giraffes have that no other animals have? E-What is lighter than a feather yet harder to hold ? F-How can you make seven even? G-What kind of dog can jump higher than a building? H-What is an 11 letter word everyone pronounces incorrectly?


(Check page 29 for the answers) A family of mice were surprised by a big cat. Father Mouse jumped and said, “Bow-wow!” The cat ran away. “What was that, Father?” asked Baby Mouse. “Well, son, that’s why it’s important to learn a second language.”

A: Why are you crying? B: The elephant is dead. A: Was he your pet? B: No, but I’m the one who must dig his grave. 30

The Tunisian English Teaching Forum | Issue2

January 2010

Funny jokes


_I was arrested at the airport. Just because I was greeting my cousin Jack! _Really? How did it happen? _All that I said was “Hi Jack”, but very loud.

A woman was driving in her car on a narrow road. She was knitting at the same time, so she was driving very slowly. A man came up from behind and he wanted to pass her. He opened the window and yelled, “Pull over! Pull over!” The lady yelled back, “No, it’s a sweater!”

more jokes!

Patient: Doctor, I have a pain in my eye whenever I drink tea. Doctor: Take the spoon out of the mug before you drink.

Patient: Doctor! You’ve got to help me! Nobody ever listens to me. No one ever pays any attention to what I have to say. Doctor: Next please!

Mother: “Did you enjoy your first day at school?” Girl: “First day? Do you mean I have to go back tomorrow?



4th issue, second year. New look ... new ideas!

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The Tunisan ELT Forum 4th Issue