Thursday, December 4, 2008

Shaping the Way We Teach English

During Novemeber we recieved at the University of Khartoum Dr. Leslie Opp-Beckman from Oregon University. The visit was very symbolic as it was the first visit for an American English language expert to Sudan since 1985. Dr.Leslie trained our teachers for four days in 'Shaping the Way We teach English' a teacher training course based on videos for successful practices around the world. After that she gave a public presentation entittled 'Shaping the future of learning and teaching of English language with technology'. We were able to learn a lot from Dr. Leslie expertise.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Are our schools killing creativity ?????????

If Sir Ken Robinson says that their schools are kill creativity. what about us in Sudan? Please watch Sir Ken Robinson talk at hte following link

Our Working Situation

During the last twenty years Sudan has been going through a process of Arabization of all public education starting from primary and secondary schools. In 1990 a governmental decree made Arabic the medium of instruction in Higher Education. English language became just a subject not a medium of instruction. The implementation of Arabic language as a medium of instruction led to a sharp drop in the level of competency in English language in the institutes of higher education.
Since 2002 the whole situation changed, oil was discovered in some parts of the country which brought an influx of foreign investment, a peace treaty was signed with the south (after 45 years of civil war ) stating that English is no longer a foreign language but a second language as it was a first language of in the south of the country. Globally English has gained a huge importance and it became the number one language of the world. For these reasons a great need for English language competency arose in Sudan.
But with this great need for English our working situation did not change. We still have classes of over 200 meeting for 2 hours per week with a total of 90 hours. (45 general English and 45 ESP). Teachers are left to prepare their own materials. No up-to-date libraries available. No teaching aids available. So the only thing we can do is to encourage our students to be autonomous learners. We cannot teach them English but we can show them how to learn English. And by the way the only positive thing in is that 99% of the student are motivated they know when they graduate they will not find a job or continue their post graduate education unless they know English.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The 21st century skills

This is a post which I send to a google group I was invited to join by Heather Baba from Tesol Arabia. The google group is called "Learner Independence SIG" at
[Hi everyone
After watching the video put by Mark, I realized that 10 years ago the
skills needed by our students in the Arab world and Africa were
different from those needed by most of Europe and USA students. But
the gap between these students is closing down the same skills are
need all around the world. Why is this? I think this is due to
globalization. Do you agree with me? Do we share the same problems in
education in our schools. Do our schools kill creativity? In Sudan
defiantly the answer is yes. In the kindergarten children are very
creative, they are allowed to express themselves but as soon as they
enter primary school discipline kills creativity. I think this
problem is very much related to our culture .
While bogging I found a very interesting blog
that gives a list of 21 century skills needed by student. ]

By the way the video Mark posted is entittled " Are our schools killing creativity" at

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Learning and Sharing

Last Tuesday, a CALL expert Hala Fawiz visited us at the English Department, to share and discuss ways in which we can introduce blended learning in our classes at U of K. The meeting was really great here are some pictures.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Are we a third world country?

During the last DVC at the American Embassy one of the participant excused herself for not using technology by saying that we are a "third world country". most of the other particpants were very angry for her description. I though a lot about what she said and I discoverd that we can be a third world country if we choose to be. A member of the English Department went to his home village in Southern Darfur which was burned down as a result of tribal conflict. He brough with him pictures of destruction and loss but among the pictures was one that attracted my attention and I asked him to if I can put it in my blog. It is a picture of a burned house made of straw with a satellite dish. So are we a "third world country" unless we choose to be !!!!!

Saturday, March 29, 2008

American Embassy DVC

Salam Everyone first I would like to thank the American Embassy for
the DVC about the use of technology as a tool for teaching English.
The quotation of Winston Churchill is really true if we look back in
the past we will be able to see the future . What I feel is that as
university teachers we should equip our students with tools they need
in their future. We shouldn't teach in the way our own teachers taught
us 14 years ago because we are in different times. We are caught in
the middle between two generations. The first is our teachers who
lived most of their lives without the internet and our students who
are living in the age of mobile technology . We have to take a
decision to which generation we want to stick to. I really had great
teachers who taught me most of what I know, they are a great
generation. But we have a responsibilities towards our students. We
have to equip them for a time which we may not live to see.
I would like to invite you all to read an article written by Vance
Stevens an American who works in Abu Dhabi entitled "New Learning for
Sustainability in the Arab Region Motivating Change: New Learning in
Formal Education for Sustainable Development" It is a very interesting
article and I hope every one will enjoy reading.
This is the link
Here is a link to some of the pictures taken during the DVC

Friday, February 1, 2008

learning RSS

WOW. I just manged (after 3 hours)to complete the tasks of Activity 1 week 3. What I learned is now I can read all the RSS feeds from Web2.0 for ESP on my google reader ( yahoo group, twitter,wiki and blog) and even RSS feeds from my own blog. I feels great to be able to accomplish so much in three hours.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

EVO 2008

I just listened to the Electronic Village Online session kick off at webheads chat room. It was a great experince chatting with english language professionals from all around the world.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Pictures from sudan

Salam every body (nobody yet?) if you want to see some picutres from sudan please visit:
He got very good pictures about sudan.

Introducing my self

My name is Hala Nur I am a new blogger. I have taken Vance Stevence advise for being a blogger before using blogging with my students. I live in Sudan the largest country in Africa ridden with many troubles ( South and Darfur). My teaching experience is around 19 years but I feel with blogging I am just starting.