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My learning story

Lifestyle in coastal Vs non-coastal cities
A process learning approach in the light of Edukata

Together with a teacher of History and another of Informatics I have created an industrious working cell where roles are exquisitely distributed and tasks well defined. However, exchanging points of view on specific details has been a remarkable feature of collaboration to comment on and refine findings all along the phases of the project. In other words, remarks about design, locations and data collection were to be provided by students as well as educators and sometimes even administrators or teachers who don’t make part of the team.

The starting point of study revolves around an athropological comparative study of lifestyles in coastal Vs non-coastal cities. An outline is made during the praparatory phase as to which components to shed lights on. So we methodically rank the aspects to compare in terms of priority and influence, the table will look something like this.

Data is collected either through intensive web search or by paying authentic visits to various sites in the city to gather as many impressions as possible from the common man. Then, open ended discussions are held during the design phase to study the findings and construct general concepts based on the frequency of certain details or ideas. Being in a non-coastal city we are able to address to almost all points in the outline, yet a serious design challenge is inevitable encountered and has to be worked out namely how to interview people living in coastal cities. It’s true that the teacher of History takes charge of providing an overview on how life has developped in Moroccan coastal cities along the last 5 decades but for purposes of empiricism and objectivity that such anthropological studies reinforce, we have to sustain the historical /theoretical overview with references from reality.

To enhance collaboration students would send each other pictures they take or videos they recorded using tablettes or mobile phones. They are also encouraged to expand the circle of labour to relatives or friends especially those living in coastal cities. We (the teachers) coordinate with our colleagues in remote areas of the country so they record videos or shoot up to date pictures focussing on different instances from daily routines.

During the participatory sessions students in small groups are assigned different tasks to treat the content of articles, pictures and videos at hand. At this level of interaction they will be observing, reflecting, mind mapping and then hypothesising. Students get together again and every group shares with the rest of classroom their perspective and final outcome. During these sessions teachers will be controling and giving feedback but at the same time they will be walking around to make sure that students are working in an environment that builds collaborative skills and capitalizes on them in terms of exchanging constructive feedback, making substantive descisions about content and outcome, working interdependently that each piece of the final work depend on the rest.

The final phase is yet another critical phase as it can lead to the success or failure of the whole process. It depends on precision in constructing the general concept and viewpoint made by the whole group with regard to the point of study. It’s worth noting that while students are composing the activity, teachers observe them and take notes as to their psychological readiness to asking questions, finding answers, reacting to criticism in addition to dominance tendencies if any, inhibitions in relation to team work and stage fright. The reason behind documenting samples of these behaviours is to spot areas to work on and sensitise concerned students to behavioural weaknesses they have to dig on in order to integrate more and better in future projects and/or the team workshops to come.

As a matter of fact, the huge quantity of collected data is meant to manipulated in two practical ways. The first is a 15 minutes audio-visual report that students will prepare under the guidance of the informatics teacher using Movie Maker technology and the second is a power point presentation that spans 30 to 40 minutes where students use interpersonal and commuincative skills to exhibit the influence of geographical factors on peoples everyday conduct and trends. There will also be a contest to choose the best picture taken with a mobile cell phone.

By the time students accomplish their project they will realise how cooperative work really shortens the distances and monitors time usage. They will also grow aware that sharing, peer review and constructive criticism are lifelong skills they have to get used to in order to survive and achieve success in advanced phases of their personal and professional lives.

 

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Creative learning

Opposite to teaching any other subject , the teaching of languages in general and English in particular can’t be carried out without triggering the students’ overall energy and sense of creativity. The nature of languages imply that learners ought not to be passive , this is why many teachers have grown more convinced that the static presentation of knowledge in the form of blocks of units that are broken into smaller units later does no longer serve the essence of teaching such a vivid language as English. Creative teachers invoke learners diverse preferences and abilities through exposing them to as many varied learning syles as possible which can be mainly done by breaking the constraining walls of the classroom and creating more ample spaces (be they physical or virtual) for learners to expand the material , criticise it and go beyond it. While traditional teaching approaches fail to attend to the several dormant skills and types of intelligences that many students are endowed with and which go most of the time unrecognised , creative teaching aims at activating those dormant areas and exploring them the most by monitoring students to learn how to learn instead of constantly spoon-feeding them. Creative teaching is about leadig learners to think outside the box and against all odds to discover the information on their own and then explore it and try to construct meaning out of it , this is what we call active learning or learning through doing. For example ;  instead of giving ready made rules and structures it’s better involving when you give different examples and leave students discover the different patterns and detect the rule or rules according to which they function. One more advantage in favour of creative learning is the amount of healthy dynamism and constructive joy it brings to your classroom. Mind you, this dynamism is not overly welcomed by all teachers as it is regarded sometimes as a shortcoming that leads to control and behaviour problems.

Une journée parfaite

” .. Non comme à l’accoutumé , je me suis réveillé très tôt aujourd’hui . Normalement je prend pas mon petit déjeuner qu’après 10 h mais ce matin quelque chose bizarre se produisait et j’avais un appétit d’ogre . Je suis descendu au boulangerie mais puisqu’il pleuvait à verse , je suis revenu prendre les clés de ma voiture  car j’ai pris la mauvaise habitude de se déplacer souvent à véhicule surtout quand il fait pas beau.  Je devais attendre que le moteur  s’échauffe. Pendant ce temps là une vieille femme  a surgi du blanc . Toute mouillée , elle s’approcha et murmura ce que j’ai pas arrivé à comprendre . J’ai baissé la vitre de ma voiture , par conséquence , elle m’a supplié de lui prendre jusqu’ à l’arrêt de bus. Ce que j’ai fait de bon gré . Elle a insisté que je devais pas quitter avant que le bus roule . Quelques instants plus tard le bus est parti et je me dirigeai chez moi , mangeai et me mis au volant à nouveau. La plus grande de toutes les surprises que j’ai jamais vécu était quand j’ai ouvert la porte de ma voiture et vu la vieille femme s’asseyant dans le coussin derrière . J’ai reculé instinctivement sous l’effet du choque. Elle sourit et dit : ‘’ je veux que tu me prennes là ou tu as pris ma sœur jumelle ‘’ . J’ai pas pu résisté , je me suis évanoui sur le champ . Je me suis réveillé chez le docteur qui m’a assuré que c’était pas grande chose et que je pouvais partir dans quelques heures .  Le docteur quitta la chambre en me promettant qu’une infirmière  prendra soin de moi jusqu’à ce que je sorte . Bien sure la dernière chose que je souhaitais à cet instant là c’est rester seul à crainte que ça incitera les mauvaise scènes que j’avais vécu ce matin là , alors dés qu’il est parti j’ai appelé l’infirmière . Je savais qu’elle sera une belle jeune fille  car toute les infirmières sont belles  et j’avais tellement besoin de belle compagnie après la terreur que les deux vieilles sorcières m’ont ramené .  Quand elle est rentré et s’est approché de moi j’ai mis mes lunettes car je savais que jaser avec une belle infirmière comme elle va surement durer longtemps , et là c’était le plus malveillant de tout les imprévus. C’était le choque qui m’a arrêté le cœur. L’infirmière  sourit et dit : ‘’ je te quitterai jamais avant  que tu me dises ou tu as pris mes deux sœurs jumelles ‘’

Mon Journal . 5 Avril 2013 – Habdou

Brothers from Bukhara

As I was giving my afternoon lessons at school , I was interrupted by  the school janitor who urged me to join the headmaster’s office because  some foreign English speakers were  waiting for an English speaker with whom they could have a chat about the school , the students and the area as a whole . I had the pleasure to meet too young gentlemen who were originally from Bukhara and I can’t describe how it lifted my spirit to meet someone form the same place as Imam Albokhari  may Allah be pleased with him . Bukhara which is is one of the largest cities of Republic of Uzbekistan and whose population is a mixture of Persians , Uzbeks and a jew minority .

Professors , Alisher and Timor looked  elegant and had a very smart way talking , they were exlporing different places in Morocco and I could understand that zeal one has when he tarvels to a foreign country for the first time and intends to see as many people and places as possible . It’s true we had a very short talk but I felt very connected to them . We took a picture , exchanged contacts and I wished they could come back again to attend Saturday’s Debate Contest , which is an event I have been working on and planning for with some students since January . For me , it was very warm and exuberant to have that short break with those gentlemen . For them , it was a homey comfortable moment that could have erased -even for  a while –  that bitter feeling of homesickness .

This is our prophet

عجبا لسمت رسول الله ودماثة خلقه ولين جانبه مع الجهلاء والأفظاظ الغلاظ . إليكم هذا الموقف النبوي المثير للعجب من الرسول صلى الله عليه وسلم وهو رأس الدولة مع أعرابي فظ. ولعمري لو صدر هذا السلوك اليوم من وزير فضلا عن حقير تجاه حاكم من حكام العرب لذهب وراء الشمس أو القمر من توه ، لكن ما عساك تقول في من زكاه ربه خلقا وخلقا . إليكم الحذيث بالعربية ثم الإنجليزية :
عن أنس بن مالك رضي الله عنه قال : ( كنت أمشي مع رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم وعليه برد نجراني غليظ الحاشية، فأدركه أعرابي، فجبذه بردائه جبذة شديدة، حتى نظرت إلى صفحة عاتق رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم قد أثرت بها حاشية البرد من شدة جبذته، ثم قال: يا محمد مر لي من مال الله الذي عندك، فالتفت إليه رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم، ثم ضحك، ثم أمر له بعطاء )
Narrated by Anas bou Malik may Allah be pleased with him I was walking with the messenger of Allah peace be upon him and he was wearing a thick-seamed Najrani garment , when an Arabian reached him and rudely pulled him by his garment so when I had a look at the prophet’s shoulder I found it got influenced by the rude pull then the Arabian said : ” O , Mohammed . Give me some of Allah’s money that you got ” . The prophet peace be upon him gently looked at him and smiled , then bestowed him a gift .

صلى الله وسلم على من علم الدنيا الحلم والكرم

Medical technology

On Jan. 8, 2001, scientists at Advanced Cell Tec­hnology, Inc., announced the birth of the first ­clone of an endangered animal, a baby bull gaur (a large wild ox from India and southeast Asia) named Noah. Although Noah died of an infection unrelated to the procedure, the experiment demonstrated that it is possible to save endangered species through cloning.

1 – Cloning : this refers to the process of making a genetically identical organism through nonsexual means. It has been used for many years to produce plants (even growing a plant from a cutting is a type of cloning). Animal cloning has been the su­bject of scientific experiments for years, but took little attention until the birth of the first cloned mammal in 1996, a sheep named Dolly. Since Dolly, several scientists have cloned other animals, including cows and mice. The recent success in cloning animals has caused strong debates between scientists, politicians and the general public about the use and morality of cloning plants, animals and possibly humans.

2 – Biotechnology : this word has a lot of meanings , for example ; developing new types of animals or making unlimited sources of human therapeutic drugs (medicines) . Some scientists still study  the possibility of growing crops that are more nutritious and naturally pest-resistant to feed a rapidly growing world population. This question elicits almost as many first-thought responses as there are people to whom the question can be posed. Fruits grown biotechnologically are bigger in size and look more beautiful but they can be tasteless or disgusting . However, the principal use of the term “biotechnology” refers to the use of living organisms or their products to modify human health and the human environment. Prehistoric biotechnologists did this as they used yeast cells to raise bread dough and to ferment alcoholic beverages, and bacterial cells to make cheeses and yogurts and as they bred their strong, productive animals to make even stronger and more productive offspring. Therefore , we understand that this science was used by ancient populations in their  everyday lives and it’s ot modern as many people think .

Pamela Peters : A Guide To Genetic Engineering. Wm. C. Brown Publishers, Inc., 1993.

 

Are you good at writing , sir ?

” … The following is one the funny moments I have lived during my career as a teacher of English : 
… A student came to me one day . Worried and reluctant as he looked , he approached and asked : 

” Are you good at writing , teacher ? ” 

My first impression was that he was provoking my wrath , which he almost did . Therefore , seeking the right response I was bereft of speech for a while . I had to reply the angry way or the funny way . Yet , when I studied the naivety in his eyes I opted for the funny way . I answered with an artificial smile on my face :

” I got a good mark in the last writing test I was given . But why are you asking ? ” 

He innocently replied : 

” I need you to write me an application letter but without mistakes please ” 

Only then was it quite conspicuous to me that it was the boy’s nature to talk that dumbly and bluntly . I felt pity for him and I replied still with the same artificial smile on my face :

” I will do my best but ( swirti moulana ) , am not very sure I won’t make mistakes ” 

And here comes the funny surprise because when he heard me say ( swirti moulana ) he immediately said : 

” Ok , Ok ! I will ask another teacher . Bye Bye ” 

And he went away leaving my artificially smiling face stunned and bearing dozens of question marks … “

” … This is my story when I discovered the ugly truth of my father. You can’t imagine how much I loved him and always spoke to people about him being the most respectful man ever .. until the day I came to know that that was a big lie as my Dad was actually involved in some dirty affairs including robberies and briberies . I met someone on the train traveling from Marrakech to Casablanca and who happened to be one of my father’s old victims. Of course, he didn’t know I was the son of his enemy and therefore started mentioning names and giving details of how my Dad had robbed him of 150 thousand Dirhams a couple of years ago , and since he had had no tangible proof he had to ( pour water on his stomach ) as we say in Moroccan Arabic . The only consoling sentence my father had told him was : “the law doesn’t protect the stupid , hhh “
I barely heard the rest of his story as my thought was moving adrift trying to find my way out of the worst of a lifetime quagmires . The dilemma was tearing my brain apart , I had to decide whather to still be my father’s son or to believe that freak and be the son of my principles . At that time I felt the man shaking my shoulder hard and saying : ” you know what , am not sorry about what happened to me . I learnt the lesson and am planning to destroy my enemy’s family . I heard he has a son who teaches English and I swear I won’t leave him until I take revenge ” 
Believe me , I was scared and looking for any excuse to change my seat and get rid of that psycho because he made me hate my life in less than half an hour . All of a sudden , the conductor emerged and I thought it was my chance to escape that man by making up any valid or invalid excuse to move to 1st class. The worst of all surprises was that the conductor knew who I was because he was a good friend of my father’s , so when he got closer he greeted me warmly and I was scared he would mention my family name , which he unfortunately did . At that moment I knew that things with the man sitting besides me would have a bad turn,and I was right . When he heard my family name he got enraged and blushed with anger . I tried to explain but he was stronger and quicker . He threw me out of the train window and , believe me, before my body could touch the ground and get shattered into minute pieces, memories with my students flickered on my mind and before my eyes , I knew that was the end but I didn’t shed a single tear . I wanted to face death bravely . When at last my weak body bumped against the solid ground , I didn’t die but I heard my mother gently whispering into my ears: ” you fell from your bed again, son . Was it your regular nightmare ? “

“.. It took me a couple of weeks before I could work up my courage and see my face in the mirror after that terrible happening . It wasn’t easy for me to undergo such a tremendous hardship at such an early age . It’s true that the pain was on the wane few hours after the incident , however I couldn’t forgive that man and woman dressed in white and pretending to be gentle . Their faces haunted my mind during the days that followed . They took advantage of my naivety at the time , injected me and I went dizzy on the spot but I still could feel their cruelty as they were forcing my head down and approaching me with their little razor sharp knives . I thought I was screaming but no one came for help . I fought and resisted but the woman was too strong to defeat and I was too weak to defend . She took care of getting me motionless while the man was in charge of cutting and blood shedding . I wondered how many people were enmeshed into this frightening room which still contained some pictures of human body remainders all around its walls . I grew weary and helpless and fell unconscious for I don’t kow exactly how much time . When I recovered , I saw the man and woman smiling and offering me some flowers. My mother was also there, she bent over my face and gave me a warm affectionate kiss as if she were apologising for not being there when I begged for help . She smiled and moved her eyes towards the table next to me as if she wanted to show me something , then said :

” it’s all over now, son . There will be no pain after today ” 

I reached for the handkerchief on the table , it was stained red (with my blood , of course) . When I unfolded it open there was my tooth in it . I heard the dentist and his assistant say : 

” Congratulations but we hate to see your face over here again” 

hhhh . This story will always remind me of the taugh fighter I was !

Namoji , the cook .

It tastes delicious .

We allow students’ diverse talents into the classroom , Cooking included.

Summer Camp , A new beginning .

Teacher Omar Habdou together with some Camp students .

Left to right : Mr Bougholid , Mr Mohamed Baouham ( Headmaster) , Mr Habdou

The beatles

At the party

The staff in charge

Group photo

The pink floyd

The neighbours dog

” .. I was supposed to be lying like a log enjoying what could still have been a dreamless slumber was it not for the damn neighbours dog . I remember having told them to kill the beast or send it to hell a couple of times before tonight but I am sure they wouldn’t listen until I do it myself . The problem is that it was the kind of dogs whose barks are worse than bites . Thieves broke into and stole precious things from the neighbours house at midday and in front of its eyes but it never barks when supposed to do so . Only when a car dives fast along the street or kids kick their ball close to the dirty hut where it lives , would the dog  pretend its fake courage . I had been tolerant for so long but today I thought it was high time I adhered to the criminal drive inside me . I went to the kitchen , opened the cupboard and reached for the upper shelf where I usually keep the poison bottles that my friend who works for the ministry of Agriculture had given me so long ago . They use them to kill enraged dogs and sometimes they serve to  kill mice or cockroaches . I took a piece of meat from the fridge and soaked it in the poison for a while . Indeed ,  it was a dear piece of meat and I had to omit protein from my menu for the following couple of days but it was worth it and I was ready to sacrifice it to kill the fool dog . I opened my flat door and sneaked out though I didn’t have to as the street was dim and empty except from that dog . Greedy and fool as it was , I didn’t have to make much effort enmeshing that beast . It even smiled when I offered the meat . I admit it was the first time I had seen a dog smiling and am sure there will be no second since I believe that dog is just unique . It meant it to be a ‘ thank you smile’ but I knew  it was a ‘good bye smile’ . I closed the door and hid behind the window curtains watching it devour its last meal . The next morning I woke up on the neighbours kids crying aloud . I knew they were mourning the stupid dog . I took a look from behind the curtains and saw the bones from last night’s meat . I admit I felt guilty and dissatisfied for my non-human act but quickly chased that feeling away from my mind , had breakfast put my black glasses and went to work trying as possible to avoid seeing or talking to anyone in the street lest my eyes or tone should disclose the truth . At work , I tried to make myself busy because the face of that dog haunted my mind and flickered non-stop before my eyes . At noon , I was sinking in melancholy  and unwilling to get back home . I even thought of admitting my crime to the neighbours and ask them for the mercy they will never afford . To my shock when I got in front of my flat I heard the same old barks . For a while I thought it was only inside my mind but when I turned I saw the  same old dog with the same old wicked smile on his face . He just didn’t die , after all . I rushed to the cupboard , snatched  the poison bottle and read the label . That bloody dog was really the luckiest animal on earth  because the validity of the poison in that bottle has expired a couple of weeks ago . I rushed out , hugged the dog and filled him with kisses while the neighbours and the passersby looked bedazzled because all of them knew how much I hated him . I mean I had hated him .. ”

2012 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 8,800 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 15 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

Listen to your voice !

Here is the premiere voice recording service which aims at sensitizing our students to the importance of public speaking . This link will help you prepare for you class presentation or debate . You can record and hear your voice , save the recording in case you like it or if you are not that happy with retry over and over untill you’re satisfied with the result .

Debating

A debate is a structured argument.  Two sides speak alternately for and against a particular contention usually based on a topical issue.  Unlike the arguments you might have with your family or friends however, each person is allocated a time they are allowed to speak for and any interjections are carefully controlled.  The subject of the dispute is often prearranged so you may find yourself having to support opinions with which you do not normally agree.  You also have to argue as part of a team, being careful not to contradict what others on your side have said.

  1. The Basic Debating Skills
  • Style

Style is the manner in which you communicate your arguments.  This is the most basic part of debating to master.  Content and strategy are worth little unless you deliver your material in a confident and persuasive way.

  • Speed

It is vital to talk at a pace which is fast enough to sound intelligent and allow you time to say what you want, but slow enough to be easily understood.

  • Tone

Varying tone is what makes you sound interesting.  Listening to one tone for an entire presentation is boring.

  • Volume

Speaking quite loudly is sometimes a necessity, but it is by no means necessary to shout through every debate regardless of context.  There is absolutely no need speak any more loudly than the volume at which everyone in the room can comfortably hear you.  Shouting does not win debates.  Speaking too quietly is clearly disastrous since no one will be able to hear you.

  • Clarity

The ability to concisely and clearly express complex issues is what debating is all about.  The main reason people begin to sound unclear is usually because they lose the “stream of thought” which is keeping them going. It is also important to keep it simple. While long words may make you sound clever, they may also make you incomprehensible.

  • Use of notes and eye contact

Notes are essential, but they must be brief and well organized to be effective.  There is absolutely no point in trying to speak without notes. Of course, notes should never become obtrusive and damage your contact with the audience, nor should they ever be read from verbatim.  Most people sketch out the main headings of their speech, with brief notes under each.

When writing notes for rebuttal during the debate, it is usually better to use a separate sheet of paper so you can take down the details of what the other speakers have said and then transfer a rough outline onto the notes you will actually be using.

Eye contact with the audience is very important, but keep shifting your gaze. No one likes to be stared at.

2.  How to manage the content ?

  • Case (argument)- the parts

Having outlined the whole of your argument, you must then begin to build a case (the parts).  The best way to do this is to divide your case into between two and four arguments (or divide your case based on the number of people in your group).  You must justify your arguments with basic logic, worked examples, statistics, and quotes.  Debating is all about the strategy of “proof”. Proof, or evidence, supporting your assertion is what makes it an argument. There are a number of ways of dividing up cases according to groups of arguments (eg political/economic/social or moral/practical or international/regional etc.) or just according to individual arguments if you can’t group any together.  Under each of these basic headings you should then explain the reasoning behind the argument and justify it using the methods outlined above.  It is usually best to put the most important arguments first.  Here is an example of a case outline:

“The media exert more influence over what people think than the government does.  This is true for three reasons.  Firstly, most people base their votes on what they see and hear in the media. Secondly, the media can set the political agenda between elections by deciding what issues to report and in how much detail.  Thirdly, the media have successfully demonized politicians over the last ten years so that now people are more likely to believe journalists than politicians.”

All of the arguments in this case outline are debatable (almost immediately you can see the counter-arguments), but they give the case a wide range which cover all kinds of issues.  The trick is not to come up with a watertight case, but a well argued one.  Think: “Can I argue that?”

  • Rebuttal – the parts

Arguments can be factually, morally or logically flawed. They may be misinterpretations or they may also be unimportant or irrelevant.  A team may also contradict one another or fail to complete the tasks they set themselves.  These are the basics of rebuttal and almost every argument can be found wanting in at least one of these respects.  Here are a few examples:

1.   “Compulsory euthanasia at age 70 would save the country money in pensions and healthcare.”  This is true, but is morally flawed.

2.  “Banning cigarette product placement in films will cause more young people to smoke because it will make smoking more mysterious and taboo.”  This is logically flawed, the ban would be more likely to stop the steady stream of images which make smoking seem attractive and glamorous and actually reduce the number of young people smoking.

3.   “My partner will then look at the economic issues…”  “Blah..blah..blah…(5 minutes later and still no mention of the economic issues)”  This is a clear failure to explain a major part of the case and attention should be drawn to it.  Even better is when a speaker starts with, “to win this debate there are three things I must do…”.  If the speaker fails to do any of those things you can then hang her or him by the noose by repeating their exact words – by his or her own admission he or she cannot have won the debate.

  • Rebuttal – the whole:

It is very important to have a good perspective of the debate and to identify what the key arguments are.  It isn’t enough to rebut a few random arguments here and there.  Of course the techniques used above are invaluable but they must be used appropriately.  There are a number of things you should do to systematically break down a team’s case:

1.  Ask yourself how the other side have approached the case. Is their methodology flawed?

2.  Consider what tasks the other side set themselves (if any) and whether they have in fact addressed these.

3.  Consider what the general emphasis of the case is and what assumptions it makes. Try to refute these.

4.  Take the main arguments and do the same thing.  It is not worth repeating a point of rebuttal that has been used by someone else already, but you can refer to it to show that the argument has not stood up.  It is not necessary to correct every example used.  You won’t have time and your aim is to show the other side’s case to be flawed in the key areas.

The Prophet

Due to his stuning persona and his rich and overwhelming legacy The Prophet Mohammed peace be upon him has always been causing a dilemma to his adversaries from the early days of Daawa up till now . However The Quran was forever there to strenghten his determination and soothe whatever pain he might have felt subsequently . Mohammed is a man who was praised not only by his companions and followers but also by many of his opponents who enjoyed some sanity and common sense .

The film was produced lately and tried to tease the emotions and feelings of Muslims all over the globe was produced by Maurice Sadiq , an anti-Islam Egyptian  Copt living in USA , and directed by Nicola Bassili 55 years old , a crook and a drug dealer who was spending 1 year in a prison in California weeks before launching his film . The actors are a bunch of novice amateurs whom nobody recongnise in Hollywood and who run after money and seize any dirty opportunity to show up . 

Question 1 : What can we expect from people of this kind ?

Question 2 : What makes them so ferociously  attack Islam this way ?

Question 3 : Are we going to confine ourselves – again – to shouting and protesting ?

http://rasoulallah.net/index.php/ar/

Scottsdale Sister City

Scottsdale is One of the most beautiful and sunniest places in USA. It is situated in the eastern part of Arizona. The sister city program was actually initiated by US President Eisenhower in 1956.
Scottsdale started their sister city organization later and its first sister city was Alamos, Mexico in 1969.
The program is based on sending and receiving students from different countries and  Scottsdale is presently a sister city with 6 other cities which are: Alamos, Sonora, Mexico; Cairns, Queensland, Australia; Kingston, Ontario, Canada; Haikou, Hainan, China and Marrakesh, Morocco.
I have traveled recently with 5 other members from Marrakesh  to the US in order to conduct the first exchange between Marrakesh and Scottsdale since they became sister cities.

Moroccan Access students performing in Scottsdale – Arizona. USA

This exchange has been a powerful experience for us as students because we learned so many things about the United States. We lived it for real, felt it, and enjoyed it. It was a chance to see a totally diverse and new world, to develop our thinking abilities and to better our English skills. We also learned that no matter who we are or where we come from, we can always change our situation for the best, that even if we stay in Marrakesh for a lifetime we can still be great citizens by thinking good, acting good, trying over and over until we get what we want, to just open our minds, and finally to dream bigger.
All that thanks to Access, Relo, Mate, SSSA, our dear teacher Houssnia Tiana, Mr.Max, Mr.Joe and all the other SSCA members for being there and for allowing us to live a tremendous week .
By: Dounia Chlyeh / Abou Elabass Sebti high school

The evil mother

Having nursed his sick father for two long years, Ramzi felt no longer capable of doing so especially that his wife has been nagging at him for quite a while now. She had never been in good terms with the old man even before he caught ill. There had always existed a dormant enmity between them both, which actually dates back to the day Ramzi had decided to propose to Sophie. His father stongly opposed the proposition from the very beginning without explaining his reasons. And whenever his son asked him to clarify, the old man would either refrain from doing so or simply say:

” it’s only a question of feelings my son. I don’t really feel comfortable about her, that’s all” . Of course that was not the real reason Ramzi was to uncover later.

His official commitments, his professional tight shedules in addition to his unwelcoming spouse have made separation a fact. And since he had no brother or sister Ramzi thought a shelter was a perfect idea. However, he had to find valid excuses to  face his father with. He was also anxious about the neighbours’  expected teasing comments but his wife seemed to be hell of a woman. She suggested that they should leave the house for a couple of months and claim the father’s death when they return.

It was very bright an idea and it worked well. They have received much sincere  sympathy and many warm condoleances since they have come back. Meanwhile, the father was spending what looked like the worst days of his life among many other “oldies” like himself.

Ramzy had promised to pay his father a visit every forthnight at least. Alas, that was a mere promise.

It wasn’t before his seventh month in the shelter that the father heard his name being uttered among those who had visitors. He was shocked and tears filled his eyes. He had actually been longing, in vain, for that visit during the first weeks of his stay that he got convinced later that he would never be visited. When he came out to the visitors’ room, which he saw for the first time, he was astonished at the sight of many parents or grand parents being taken care of by children or grand children. His eyes swiftly roamed around the corners of the room before he saw his son. The son approached and was about to justify his long absence but the father cut him short and moved his eyes off him and smile to his grand son.

Ramzay had a cute son who insisted on coming as he loved his grand father very much.

” Did you miss your grandpa? ” He asked.

” I never believed you were dead grandpa ”  replied the boy innocently , then he burst out crying.

Ramzay blushed and felt embarrassed  and tried to muffle the voice of  innocence with some lies  ” The boy has been seeing that in his dreams “

The old man put his index on his mouth as a hush sign. Ramzay stood still and silent and was all ears. The father sighed deeply and said: “you never knew why I was against your marriage to Sophie”

” you never  told me dad” answered Ramzay and was hoping to get an answer.

The old man raised his head to the sky and said  ” I never liked Sophie because I was afraid history would repeat itself”

” How comes !”  commented Ramzay who didn’t seem to understand .

The man said ” she had just the same face your late mother had when she was her age”

” so what ?! ” answered Ramzay  ” then you should be happy with that”

” I was afraid she would carry the same evil inside” said the father as he shook his head  with sorrow.

” Do you mean my mother was .. ” said Ramzay irritated.

”  Yes, she was.  She was reponsible for my sending your grand father out of the house and your wife Sophie did likewise.  In fact she did worse . Your mother kept urging me to lodge your grand father in a cabin outdoors that was mainly the gardners shelter ”  the old man’s face carried a mixture of feelings as he was saying this.

” I never imagined that the same story would happen again”  the old man continued.

” why don’t you leave my grandpa live with us daddy ?”  begged the boy.

Hearing the boy begging, the old man could no longer control his tears and said in a weary muffled voice: ” you begged me the same way to let your grandfather stay with us in the house but I answered that you were still young and that you would understand better when you grow up.”

” it seems that you followed my advice son. Now, you understand enough to lodge me where I belong ” said the old man as he covered his face with his hands and broke itno a flood of tears

My Pharaoh bracelet

I used to love Marrakesh city very much. I still remember a quick walk I had in one of the traditional Souks there when I was 9 years. I was in the company of my parents, my brother, my elder sister and her husband. We were on the way back from Ouarzazat , a small city very much known for her famous international film studio called Atlas. It didn’t take longer than 50 minutes during which my father was reminding us to hurry up and to keep our purchases to a minimum. I bought a nice bracelet and a pair of sandals.  The bracelet was nicely engraved with the name and picture of Ramses : The Egyptian Pharaoh, while the sandals were made of genuine leather ornamented  with silver-like small buttons.

    As you know, women are very much slower and more squandering when it comes to shopping, which irritated my father whose main concern was the 260 Km we still had to drive forward to Casablanca. He was not very experienced at dealing with long distances and had the  uneasy feeling that things would take a turn for the worse.

   Was it due to the bitter sensation of leaving my grand parents behind or is it the annoying premonition that drivers as novice as my father was always have?  That I could never tell ..  . Honestly !

   Hardly had we headed off towards Casablanca when the car broke down and to everybody’s surprise my father burst out laughing. Yet, nobody dared to ask him about the reason. The radiator had been leaking out of  water for quite a while that it overheated. A dark cloud of smoke appeared when father  uncapped the car engine. We had to wait almost two hours before the leakage could be fixed. My mother was grumbling almost half the time we were waiting. We got home too late that day and although it was only 3 hours far from Casablanca, I never had another chance to visit Marrakesh during the couple of decades that followed.

    In 2009 I went back but this time I had to go as a teacher not a tourist. I was appointed there and all my zeal and love for the city shrank with the first ride I had in a cab. The driver didn’t stop complaining about the traffic which spoils the air and the foreigners’ provoking nudity which seemed to stain the purity and spontaneity of the natives. The prices which have been growing by leaps and bounds since the regular invasion of tourists had started, and Jamaa Elfena which has been losing its originality and glamour since unskilled story-tellers and thieves had found their way to it. The natives who cold-bloodedly started selling their large traditional Ryads to people who don’t care too much about a culture they simply don’t belong to . The driver still had more things to talk to me about but to my good luck the journey came to end and the man had to pull over so I can get off the vehicle.

  Chances are his talk was only a warm try to break the ice with which he also broke in minutes a beautiful image I bore in mind for twenty years. The image of the charming Marrakesh.

I lost my Pharaoh bracelet 3 months after I had bought it. I never knew how and where.

What makes matters worse is that Marrakesh is no more a good place to pay a reasonable price for  such a lovely bracelet . Those antiques are no longer made for natives.

Yet, I have never hated Marrakesh for what it is as much as I have for what it has become.

 

Digital Textbooks

Just how much will digital text books shake up education and what do they look like?

Digital Textbooks. A revolution or a mere phenomenon.

Well, fantastic, on the evidence of LoE. Opening with an inspiring, attention-grabbing video, it is incredibly immersive. The content is excellent with plenty of text and images. There are more videos to watch, imbedded interactive Keynote presentations and a quiz at the end of the second chapter. It was certainly a very satisfying experience and I would have loved to have had one of these when I was at school many moons ago. Could digital textbooks be the future?

Many students dislike having to carry around piles of heavy books – in fact sometimes they dislike doing it so much they purposely leave them at home! Digital textbooks would make this a problem of the past. Students would only need to bring an iPad to school, something that many are doing anyway in some educational institutions.

Another big problem with textbooks, as we all know, is that they are often out of date as soon as they are printed but going digital would negate the need to constantly purchase the most up-to-date physical version of a text. With Apple’s latest technology, textbooks can be revised via an update in iBooks. This has got to be a good thing.

Chances are tablets and itextbooks will bring too much gloss and glamour to the classroom but still they won’t afford a modicum of special intimacy that real textbooks do. The physical contact with real textbooks is not to be considered meaningless. At least it makes students feel that the information is tangible and within reach as long as they can hold the textbook in their hands and scan or skim through the pages , which in pedagogy parlance would be quite similar to Realia.

My first worry is that certain companies will be enjoying a bonanza by taking advantage of youths blind keenness on purchasing tablets. Another thing to worry about is the educational content which I would claim won’t amount to the degree of earnestness demanded to keep students focus. As a matter of fact, youths  are easily  enmeshed in the charm of technology that they can’t draw a line between learning and playing.  Therefore, presenting the content colorfully and so amazingly won’t meet the educational ends as much I as it does the commercial ones.

Allah is Great

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