Friday, December 16, 2011

Sidi Bouzid celebrating the first International Festival of Freedom and Dignity

Sidi Bouzid, the hometown of Mohamed Bouazizi and the place that witnessed the first outburst of the Tunisian Revolution on the 17th of December, 2010, will host the first International Festival of Freedom and Dignity for four days (16th to 19th of December). The festival is both a grateful celebration of the past as it is a tribute to the Revolution’s martyrs and an optimistic look at the future because the festival is also a unique opportunity to draw the world’s attention to the buried splendor of this part of Tunisia and to its quite often overlooked economic potential.  The International Festival of Freedom and Dignity offers a rich and varied program including music, art galleries, outdoor movie screenings, workshops, seminars, fireworks, and much more! The highlight of the festival is the attending of outstanding international guests from Egypt, Iraq, Morocco, Libya, Britain, Yemen, Syria and other countries. More on this event soon.

The Sixth Issue of The Tunisian ELT Forum Magazine: Call for articles

Soon, we will be publishing the sixth issue of The Tunisian ELT Forum. In fact, we plan to have it ready by mid-January. If you have any ideas, tips or lessons (related to EFL in general or ITC in particular) to share, we will be honored to have them published in the next issue. It would be ideal if you could send your submissions before or during the first week of January. If you are interested, please use the "contact us" button. Have great hildays! 

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Rhyme-on-time! : The First Classroom Activity Book of ColloTunes for English Learning

Jason R. Levine's long-awaited book, Rhyme-On-Time!, will be available very soon!
Rhyme-On-Time is the first classroom activity book of ColloTunes for English learning. The book includes songs for beginner to intermediate level learners, 14 full-length ColloTunes + instrumental versions, re-printable/photocopiable lyrics, activity handouts, teacher notes, lesson plans and much more!
The book will be available on November the 25th.
To order the book, you can check , Jason's page on Facebook: Fluency MC or email Jason at collolearn(at)gmail(dot)com.

*Jason R. Levine (aka Fluency MC) is an amazingly resourceful and creative teacher whose rap songs geared towards learners of English have been met with great success on the internet. Just a quick look at the number of hits/likes on his videos on YouTube (check Jason's stickstuckstuck ) or the number of visits and comments on his page on Facebook reveals to what extent his creativity has been inspiring and admired by teachers and learners from all over the world. 

Activa Idioma: Prospectiv​e job offer for English as a Foreign Language teachers in Tunisia

activa idioma is exploring the possibilities of hiring up the services of English teachers from Tunisia with a degree in English studies and / or Cambridge CELTA –presently working or not- for lesson planning or / and online teaching. For more details on the job offer, we will be happy to forward the email sent to the forum by activa idioma to those who are interested. Contact Tarak here: tarakbrahmi(at)gmail(dot)com or info(at)tarakbrahmi(dot)com

Launching the ELTons 2012

The ELTons, sponsored by Cambridge ESOL, are the only international awards that recognise and celebrate innovation in the field of English language teaching (ELT).
Check for more details about this year's awards, categories and deadlines. Good luck!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Happy World Teachers' Day!

World Teachers' Day is held annually on October the 5th. This year, the British Council Tunisia is organising the Teaching English Webquest Competition. You can check the British Council website for more details.
Good luck!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Go Ahead Teacher! Students are Eager!

By Anissa Ben Abdallah Ayari*

I won’t believe any teacher who would say, “I’m still on holiday”. School is ahead and our holidays are already over. Obviously we’re still home but mentally, we’re there, in class.
Worried! Anxious! Yes, we might be so. Excited! Impatient! True, we should be so. Busy! “Swamped”! Definitely, we have to be so. It’s all about the very “First Hour” of the school year “The beginning is the most important part of the work.” Teachers, indeed, should give it attention, consideration, but above all, a careful preparation.
Because it has a vital and decisive role in the long run, teachers have to get ready with an attractive and a gripping first hour session. In order to keep your students “in” from the very start, keep in mind dear colleagues that you SHOULD:
  • Catch their attention
  • Surprise them
  • Involve them all whether they are high-achievers or not.
  • Show interest in what they are saying no matter how trivial it may be.
  • Give them the opportunity to reach you:
“The Authority of those who teach is always an obstacle in front of those who want to learn”
  • Be  kind to them.
  • Ask them but let them ask you
  • Let them answer your questions but answer theirs in return
  • Mingle with them
  • Smile
  • Make them feel that you’ll team up together to achieve success.
By experience, I’ve come to realize that by the end of such a session, students will step out the classroom feeling confident, safe, secure and READY to start a new year with all its “ups and downs”.
Unfortunately, this is not enough. Is it? Students need to “wake up” after a long sleepy holiday. They need to think, to refresh their memories, to speak because they’ve got a lot to talk about, to move, to discover their new “corner” for that new year, to interact to know each other.
In fact, practically speaking, teachers have to cater for all these needs and provide learners with the suitable activities selected and set beforehand. But the questions here are: How should I select the activities? What should be the basis on which I’ll prepare my First lesson of the year?
Teachers, indeed, have to consider 3 points to come out with” a perfect activity” to assure “a perfect start”:

  1. The School type (Primary, Prep or Sec. School...) which will determine the level and the age group your students belong to.
  2. The School place. It’ll help you best choose the topics that might interest the local students. A topic of interest in an area might be a kind of never-heard-of thing in another one.
  3. The “Ice” that may stand between the students themselves or the students and their teachers. Regardless of the fact that you’re an “old” teacher or not, you’re always a “new’ one on the first day to school. Whether they were in the same class the previous year or not, students are always “new comers” on that very day.
Actually Ice Breaker Activities are what teachers need to answer the above questions and to be well-equipped for the first hour of a new school year.

What is an Ice Breaker?: (n-count): It is something that someone says or does in order to make it easier for people have never met to talk together.

Why use them in class as first hour activities? Educators agree and emphasize the fact that Ice Breakers are worth using as effective and efficient starts for a new challenging school year for their multiple and various benefits.

I have done the tour of a multiple number of websites where I have found a multitude and a huge variety of Ice Breakers. Here is a compilation of the most used ones in EFL classes.

1-GET-TO-KNOW Each Other Interview:

It is a very good activity mainly for shy students who will find themselves in front of interviewers asking them very simple questions about: name, age…. Students will move around and interview each other to gather information that they’ll display later for the rest of the classmates. To make it easier for the students, the teacher may distribute The Interview worksheets. Here are some links that you can visit to download them for free:

2-Two Truths and A Lie:

Students are asked to write 2 truths and 1 lie about themselves. After introducing the 3 facts to the rest of the classmates and the teacher? It’s then up to them to identify the “Lie” . Funny, motivating and engaging all the students and even the teacher. Give it a try, you won’t regret it.

3-Dates and Events activity:

On a piece of paper students are asked to write 5 numbers. These should correspond to events in the learner/teacher life. It may be the number of brothers and sisters….. The teacher then asked the students to move around and ask each other questions (Yes/NO or WH questions) in order to find out the corresponding answers for the given dates or numbers. The teacher should start and model the activity so that it won’t be difficult for them to deal with it. They’ll be glad to share some personal things with classmates and teacher. It’s one of the activities that would bring the teacher closer to the students.

4-Find Someone Who:

It’s a game-like activity. Teachers give their students sheets of paper containing lists of various accomplishments, skills, success and any other kind of information. Then, they are asked to travel around the class looking for people who may fulfill the spots in their sheets. Very practical and effective to let students give interesting fact about one other.

5-A Two- Minute Mixer:

It is a good activity to enhance the students’ speaking skills. Students are allowed to mingle in the class and have a 2-minute chat with one another. No need to prepare things for this activity. Just let them do it spontaneously and it’ll work.

6-If you had A Magic Wand:

Let your students go beyond the class for this first session. What would they do if they had a magic wand? It is an activity to open their minds, tell you and the others about their dreams, energizes the whole group and triggers the learners’ curiosity to know more about their teacher or their classmates.

7-Three Words:

I’ve already talked above about surprising the students on that very first session. This is a perfect activity to impress your learners. Just ask them to write down 3 words that best describe them. Words may not come easily. So let them speak, ask each other, listen to each other. They’ll also ask you. You’ll be there, won’t you? Students will never forget these “magic “3 words and they’ll never forget each other’s 3 words till the end of the year.


I hope what I have collected will be of great help to all. I have also learnt a lot from it. To finish, I would like to add just one thing. Don’t forget to be early on that day. Actually you have to talk about discipline. It is very important to set some rules from the start. Finally, thank them for their attention and attendance. Getting through a lot of events in the beginning of a school year, students need to feel appreciated and welcomed back.
I wish a successful school year to all students, teachers, inspectors and everyone who is involved in the teaching field. Special thanks and wishes for my inspector and teacher Mr. Rachid Najar for his encouragement, help and support.

Useful links:

*Anissa Ben Abdallah Ayari is  a very active EFL teacher in Sidi Rzig Mongi Slim (Prep School). She's been teaching for 12 years now. When not teaching, Anissa is sharing links and tips with other EFL teachers from all over the world and sending posts to The Tunisian English Teaching Forum's group on Facebook and other teaching groups online. She is particularly interested in sharing ideas on how to genuinely and creatively motivate students.

    Wednesday, April 27, 2011

    The fifth issue of The Tunisian English Language Teaching Forum

    In this issue, you can "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

    This issue can be read and downloaded here.

    Saturday, April 9, 2011

    Volunteer translating fom English to Arabic

    Teachers Without Borders is looking for English-to-Arabic translators for its Peace Education Program. Translators should be fluent in Arabic and English, and be willing to commit to 5-10 hours per week of volunteer translating work. Please send a resume or CV and cover letter to Stephanie Knox Cubbon, Peace Education Program Coordinator:

    Tuesday, March 22, 2011

    A New Call For Articles

    The fifth issue of the magazine , which was due to be online in January, was postponed as the country was (and it is still) going through a historical Revolution.
    Some colleagues asked about the magazine and said they are looking forward to seeing it online. In fact, we have received some invaluable articles but we are still waiting for more! So, any contributions will be appreciated.
    We would also like to pay a tribute to those who wrote and are still writing a new page in the history of our country. So, we are thinking about adding a few pages to talk about the Tunisian Revolution. So, if you are interested, let your pen's ink run wild!


    Gadget by The Blog Doctor.