Saturday, July 25, 2009

CALL lab: Teachers' comments

Teacher: Najoua Abdelhak
School: Ouled Haffouz Preparatory School

Lucky are the English teachers in Tunisia

because they are always given the opportunity to use new and facilitating technologies in helping pupils to get the language. In fact, on the 8th of July this year, I attended a training session called "Multilab" centered around using the computer as a technology in teaching English.
I expected the session to be about ways to improve our pupils' pronunciation but I found something different and I was surprised and excited for two reasons: first, the program was really rich and interesting. Second, Multilab was not just a theory to speak about and a paper and a pen to take notes then leave. Practice was the hero, though more is needed. Multilab is about using the computer in group sessions . It can be used in different ways and I think that it has many benefits. It is a way to:

  • better present the materials of the lesson.
  • motivate pupils and lover their affective filter.
  • enable pupils to get the language and practie it easily.
  • better deal with the mixed abilities classes.
  • make pupils responsible about their learning.
  • get teachers and pupils used to deal with the English language through the computer as a technology.
Using the computer in teaching is really helpful and for those who can not manipulate it well and easily and I am one of them, summer is no longer an opportunity to just relax and read stories, it is an occassion to prepare oneself for a future where the teacher is the pillar of the class and technology is the pillar of teaching.
At the end, special thanks are given to Mr Fathi Bouguerra as well as to Mr Abdennbi Omri for their excellent presentation of the material, their patience and the light atmosphere they provided us with. They were really clear, helpful and friendly and their jokes cooled the heat of day.                  

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Why Should We Raise The Issue Of Differentiating Instruction?

Differentiating Instruction: A workshop by Inspector & Teacher Trainer Mohamed Salah Abidi (CREFOC,Sidi Bouzid. July 2009)

"Differentiated instruction (sometimes referred to as differentiated learning) is a way of thinking about teaching and learning. Differentiating instruction involves providing students with different avenues to acquiring content; to processing, constructing, or making sense of ideas; and to developing teaching products so that all students within a classroom can learn effectively, regardless of differences in ability." From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The workshop focuses on answering the following questions:
  • Why should we raise the issue of DI?
  • What are the desired outcomes of the workshop?
  • Defining the concept of Differentiating Instruction
  • Is Differentiating Instruction a new trend in Pedagogy?
  • The rationale underlying this method
  • Why differentiate?
  • How different are students in a mixed ability class?
  • What is ZPD?
and other quesions as well.
Check the slideshow and Appendix for more details.
To download this PowerPoint presentation, check our "Download Area" on the sidebar.
Name:Why should we raise the issue of DI.ppt Size:91 KB)

Appendix Di
To download these handouts, check our "Download Area" on the sidebar.(Name:Appendix_DI.doc Size:110 KB)
View more documents from tetforum.

Friday, July 17, 2009


hello everybody. i'm fathi bouguerra. an efl teacher and a trainer in the region of sidi bouzid. the rational behind the creation of this blog is not new. it stems from the fact that the days of traditional teaching are over and for the sake of growing professional we need to coopreate whether intra or inter school and why not inter regions. cascading material and sharing what we know is the key to success. so have a go and remember that the appetite comes whaile eating, and that the journey of hundred miles begins with one step . we think together, plan together and inshallah improve together. till the next contact take care and good luck in everything you do.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Formative Evaluation

Formative Evaluation: A workshop by Inspector & Teacher Trainer Mohamed Salah Abidi (CREFOC,Sidi Bouzid. July 2009)

CREFOC, Sidi Bouzid:

Day 1 of the workshop began with the inspector initiating a brainstorming session that invited the participants to answer a few important questions (see sideshow). This session provided a clear framework for the workshop and led to the realization that it is important for teachers to start thinking about why formative assessment should be part and parcel of their teaching practices.

Later on, the participants sat in groups and started discussing the differences both in terms of terminology and application of the notion of summative and formative assessment with reference to the first handout (see handouts below). The discussion was rounded up by commenting on a quote by Robert Stake “When the cook tastes the soup, that's formative; when the guests taste the soup, that's summative.” Then, the participants thought about the difference between assessment for learning and assessment of learning.

After reading and thinking about some of the principles outlined by the Assessment Reform Group (document 2), the participants were also encouraged to analyze the process of formative assessment and to discuss the teachers' intentions and the benefits for the learners by completing a chart.(document 5 ).

On day 2, the inspector and the participants took some time thinking about the benefits of formative assessment for teachers and learners. Teachers were invited to think about what tools are needed to effectively implement a formative evaluation. Some of the tools that were discussed included conducting surveys. The groups were asked to think about the practice of formative assessment in the Tunisian context. The participants discussed the various formative assessment activities present on the textbooks in use for secondary school students.

By the end of the workshop, there was an overall agreement among teachers that formative assessment was not completely absent from their daily teaching practices but that it was rather done unconsciously and often in a unproductive way. They concluded that it has to be an indispensable component of their teaching.


To download this PowerPoint presentation, check our "Download Area" on the sidebar.
Name:Formative Evaluation.ppt Size:79 KB)

To download the above handouts, check our "Download Area" on the sidebar.
Name:Appendix.doc Size:76 KB)

Sunday, July 12, 2009

On being eclectic

For a number of years, many teachers sat on what they assume is a safe ground , that of aligning with “eclecticism”. For some, it means choosing what seems adequate from the existing methods. For others, it means not only the principled use of these methods but also the need to adjust their teaching to their immediate environments as they are aware of the fact that certain methods fall short of realizing that social, cultural and other factors are determining aspects in deciding what works best for them and their students.
Eclecticism is a response to the inherent limitations of the notion of “method” because “the conception and construction of methods have been largely guided by a one-size-fits-all, cookie-cutter approach that assumes a common clientele with common goals.” Kumaravadivelu, Beyond Methods: Macrostrategies for Language teaching (2003).
While it seemed for many a wise and cogent position, eclecticism has been criticized for being guided more by “common-sense” rather than by a principled view: "It does not offer any guidance on what basis and by what principles aspects of different methods can be selected and combined." Stern (1983). He explains that “The choice is left to the individual’s intuitive judgment and is, therefore, too broad and too vague to be satisfactory as a theory in its own right.” Stern (1992).
Henry Widdowson (1990) warns that “if by eclecticism is meant the random and expedient use of whatever technique comes most readily to hand, then it has no merit whatever”.

The first claim that eclecticism is rather based on “common-sense”, hence lending itself to vagueness and inconsistency draws on the belief that to be convincing, pedagogy needs to be governed by facts and certitudes rather than by inconsistencies and differences. Teaching and learning, however, are far from being accurate sciences: As Kumaravadivelu observes, "the success or failure of classroom instruction depends to a large extent on the unstated and unstable interaction of multiple factors such as teacher cognition, learner perception,
societal needs, cultural contexts, political exigencies, economic imperatives, and institutional constraints, all of which are inextricably interwoven."
Besides, even in his account of the three parameters of a postmethod pedagogy, namely particularity, practicality, and possibility, Kumaravadivelu notes that "inevitably, the boundaries of the particular, the practical, and the
possible are blurred."

The second criticism doesn't challenge the relevance of 'eclecticism' per se. However, it points teachers to the right direction by making it clear that to be successful, eclecticism should not be random and irresponsible. This is what Diane Larsen-Freeman (Techniques and Principles in Language Teaching) refers to as "principled eclecticism".
The point is that "eclecticism" is a fair choice if it is done properly. That is to say, it shouldn't be " an excuse not to go deeply into methodology [and] cognitive research" As Patricia Arias, a teacher from Argentina states in her reply to Scott Thornbury's article "Methods, post-method, and métodos" on ( link to article )
Attentiveness to the existing theories and to their limitations, the ability to "learn to cope with competing pulls and pressures representing the content and character of professional preparation, personal beliefs, institutional constraints, learner expectations, assessment instruments, and other factors" (Kumaravadivelu, 2003) are determining aspects in shaping a good eclectic stance that is both self-conscious (aware of theories and methods) and effective (takes account of the context and “local” specificities to make sure a proper teaching and learning experience would take place).
So, eclecticism is here to stay although it may seem as a challenge to the certitude of theories. It is, in fact, a sign of teachers’ maturity and their readiness to take responsibility for what they know best, i.e., teaching.

Article by tarak brahmi  [my blog]


Diane Larsen-Freeman 2000. Techniques and principles in language teaching 

Kumaravadivelu, B. 2003. Beyond Methods: Macrostrategies for Language teaching 

Scott Thornbury 2009, Methods, post-method, and métodos link 

Stern, H.H. 1983. Fundamental Concepts of Language Teaching


Useful resources for EFL teachers

  • Videos, documentaries, TV shows, Games, News, Photo Galleries of famous inventors, History makers, celebrities, poets, writers, politicians… Barack Obama along with Bruce Lee, Abraham Lincoln, Michael Jackson, Nelson Mandela, Neil Armstrong and thousands of famous people; all meet in one place,and that is here:


wordahead:  is a great vocabulary-learning site.


  • Encourage your students to polish their typing skills with this great tool form BBC: link
  • Free cliparts for use in your classroom by Discovery: link
  • For intremediate and advanced learners, check the Lesson Plans Library ( videos, lesson plans and downloadable comprehension questions and answers):
  • This site offers free certificates to print that you can use for the student of the month,star student certificates, attendance awards, most improved student, teacher of the month, rewarding homework success or better classroom performance: link


  • For young poets in your classroom, these websites can be very useful: rhymezone & wordcentral. Students type in a word to find words that rhyme with it.
  • Create online quizzes for your students with proprofs

Thursday, July 9, 2009

A workshop on CALL and English language Teaching

A workshop on how to integrate CALL with English Language Teaching by Teacher Trainer Fathi Bouguerra and  Lab Specialist Abdennabi Omri was held at The CREFOC in Lessouda, Sidi Bouzid (8th,9th, and 10th of July, 2009). The workshop shed light on how Multilab, a creative and innovative technology from EDU4,   can be used to teach English in our schools. More details will be posted here soon.



The User guide for Multilab (in French) is now available on our blog. To download it, check our Download Area on the sidebar.


News from Tunisia : A Workshop for EFL teachers about Formative Assessment held in Sidi Bouzid (July 2009)

For teaching to be prolific and for learning to be successful,  teachers need to be  attentive to the importance of constantly evaluating the content they deliver to their students and the relevance of that content to them. Teachers can do that by means of observing how students learn, by focusing on their needs and  “adjusting instruction as appropriate”…

A two-day workshop by Supervisor and Teacher Trainer Mr. Mohamed Salah Abidi on Formative Assessment was held at the CREFOC, Lessouda, Sidi Bouzid on July 7th and 8th, 2009.   An exhaustive coverage of the workshop will be posted here and in our magazine soon.


Saturday, July 4, 2009


Do you have a question about something? Read through our Frequently Asked Questions and find the answers you're looking for!

1-How do I become a member?
You just need to send an email to the forum's authors. You will receive an email with details of your membership shortly.
2-How can I send an article?
First, you need to become a member ( question 1 above). Then, you need to follow the guidelines of writing an article (read details here).When you send your article to the authors of the blog, a confirmation email will be sent to you within 5-10 days.
3-Is this blog limited to teachers?
No, of course not! Everyone is free to join as long as they are interested in the field of EFL teaching.
4-How can I send questions?
You can add your questions in the "Question and answers" section of the forum, which will be available soon.
5-How can this site help me in my teaching?
In many ways. While browsing the contents of this forum, you will notice that there is a variety of materials that can be of immediate help to you. Articles, tips, lesson plans are some of the resources that are here for you to look at.
6-How do I upload files to this forum?
You can send them to the authors' emails or upload them here in the "Download Area",which is reserved to members and frequent submitters. However, you are strongly encouraged to use the first option for more convenience and
7-How do I download materials?
You can download worksheets, lesson plans and other materials from our "Download Area" on the sidebar.
8-Can I get a printed version of this forum?
Yes, you can print, bookmark or share this forum with friends. Check the sidebar
9-Is this blog free?
Absolutely. This site is completely free.No fees are required.
10-Can I write reviews of the online books in the Read Books Online section of the blog?
Yes, of course. This is even highly appreciated as it can serve as some kind of feedback for other readers. You can do this by clicking on the "Read more about this book" link in the bottom of the reading area of the book.
11-How do I write book reviews?
Here is an interesting article about how to write a book review: article

Guidelines for writing articles

The Tunisian English Teaching Forum is a blog and a magazine for Teachers of English as a Foreign language. It publishes articles of interest to teachers, educators, inspectors and all those who are related to TEFL. Article subjects range from research that pertain to TEFL and education in general to stories that inform, issues that teachers face in their day-to-day lives as teachers, questions that arise while teaching, tips, advice, lesson plans, suggestions, etc..

If you are keen on sharing your expertise, stories, findings, frustrations, you are invited to send your articles to The Tunisian English Teaching Forum.

The Tunisian English Teaching Forum magazine will be published four times a year. So, articles will be chosen on the following criteria:

  • Variety: The magazine will try to vary its content.So, articles that deal with different topics will be more likely to be published in the same issue.

  • Length: It is more desirable to have "reasonably" long articles in order to make room for more articles.

  • Relevance: Articles that are directly related to TEFL in particular and education in general will have precedence.

  • Space: This is also a determining factor as the magazine has only a limited number of pages.

  • Balance: Trying to give all voices an equal chance to talk and share their views is another serious endeavor.

The Tunisian English Teaching Forum blog will host articles on a regular daily basis and there are fewer limitations concerning the number of articles that can be published online.


Articles should be typed in a known electronic format( .doc, .pdf, .rtf, .txt, .html) but articles that are typed on paper ( OCR ready: that can be read by text-recognition devices like scanners) are also accepted. Articles should preferably range from one page to four pages.

Other details:

A brief description/summary of your article (50-100 words) is highly encouraged although it is not compulsory. You are also encouraged to write a few lines about yourself, your interests and your experience along with your email address.

References and quotations:

A good article is an article that pays attention to references and quotations. There are a few referencing systems in use like MLA and APA. We are sticking with the MLA system for the sake of consistency. For more details about these systems, you can visit

The APA Quick reference guide can be downloaded here

Fees /payment:

No fees are received by you or this magazine for publishing your articles as this blog, magazine and the resources are totally free.

If your article is published elsewhere, please mention that to us.

Best regards,

The Tunisian English Teaching Forum team

Teachers TV : the TV channel for teachers

Teachers TV is a website dedicated to helping teachers grow professionally.. It “ supports the professional development of anyone working in school, enabling them to widen their skills, develop their practice, and connect with others in the field” …“through engaging videos, practical resources and an active online community”.

These are some of the many advantages of registering free with this great website: “

  • Instant access to up to date professional development videos and resources
  • Learn from other education professionals by going inside their classrooms and into their schools
  • Save time with practical tips, lesson ideas and classroom resources
  • Help across the year to meet classroom targets and achieve personal goals
  • Keep informed with content covering the latest developments in the education agenda "


Many thanks for  my friend and colleague Mohammed Ajmi Fekih for mentioning this site.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Check these two great sites for free resources for students and educators

The following two sites are two real mines of gold for students and teachers alike. They include freeware and open source tools that are carefully chosen by our friend Patricia Donaghy.

Link to the first blog: 

Link to the second blog:

Using ICT in further education

Free resources for education

N.B: To go to these sites, you can also click on the snapshots.

Our blog is now registered with the Edubloggers Directory!

International Edubloggers Directory is a great place for “edubloggers from around the world [that] provides an easy way to find out what other edubloggers are blogging about.This site also includes a shared events calendar and wiki site where members may add relevant dates and links to a central location, which will hopefully prove useful to all educators - both edubloggers and non edubloggers alike.”

Created by the gorgeous and kind Patricia Donaghy , this site, which was launched in January 2008, has already more than 750 members from all over the world.


Here is the link to Edubloggers:

Tunisian Teachers' blogs:

You can visit this blog here for tips and lessons. Link:

Here is another blog by a Tunisian teacher. Nice content.

Link:   Teaching English

yappr : awesome video resources!

If you are looking for great videos that are relevant to your students, yappr is the place to go. Hold on a second! Have you ever wondered whether anyone or any place would bother to add a transcript along with a video? Well, yappr does! The subjects range from interviews with celebrities to social, ecological issues, extracts from films and the list goes on and on…

Here is the link :


Make sure you click on the Watch the guided Tour link. It helps you get the most of your experience there.

DimDim, the best web conferencing tool for teachers

We are going to talk about this web application soon in a coming issue of our magazine with more detail. But, you can visit this website and have a look at this revolutionary and state-of-the-art tool for teachers. You can deliver presentations, webinars and lessons to your students using your webcam  or just by showing slideshows and documents from your own desktop! You can also schedule meetings and get your audience to register online through well-designed and user-friendly widgets. And a lot more on


Gadget by The Blog Doctor.