Friday, January 5, 2018

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

How to Survive Finals Week

The last week of the semester can actually make you feel like a zombie. During this time, students will suffer from sleep deprivation, increased irritability, and stress. With this in mind, what's the best way to keep your sanity and still be prepared for all of your exams? We've rounded up some study and relaxation tips for you below. Check 'em out!
1. Make a plan for the week
Have you ever felt stressed and found that making a list makes you feel better? With so much ahead of you, it's a great way to get your tasks and goals organized on paper. Write down a schedule of which subject to study when, and include deadlines for finals and papers on it too. Seeing it all laid out in front of you will show just how capable you are of tackling everything!
2. Try to eat healthy
When you're surviving on very little sleep, poor eating habits can make for a lowered immune system, and the last thing you want going into a final is an illness. Sweets and carbs might make you feel energized at first, but after a couple of hours they'll leave you feeling more lethargic. Opt for brain foods like berries and nuts for a snack, or fish at meal times. Your body will thank you!
3. Take breaks
Intense studying cannot be sustained, and ultimately, you will burn out before you get everything done if you study that way. Pace yourself and take breaks for your mind and body: unwind with a book or a bit of TV, or catch up with a friend.

4. Don't put too much pressure on yourself
Yes, finals are important, but not acing a final will not shatter your world. If your stress comes from the expectations you've placed on yourself you should probably revise those expectations, or even better, trust in your abilities that you know your stuff!
5. Don't be afraid to ask for help
There's no such thing as a stupid question, remember? Still, many students are too intimidated to go to a professor for help prior to an exam. If you can't ask your teacher, ask a friend for a simplified explanation of whatever it is you don't understand. 

~ Thanks Mariam ~

Knowledge VS Thinking [Islamic Perspective]

The speaker in the file below is Nouman Ali Khan (a Muslim public speaker) and in it, he shows us the difference between Knowledge and Thinking according to the Holy Quran. The file is only a minute long but it really is interesting to listen to.

Click here to listen.

Monday, January 1, 2018

EL119 Grades [Total course grades]

Click here to see your grades. (Updated 1st January 2018)

Note: All marks uploaded on LMS as well. 

Monday, December 25, 2017

Personality Test

Click here to do it.

My Personality Result: Mediator (INFP)

Thank you Manal

Sunday, December 24, 2017

EL121N Notes [Complete]

Note: Download & install Winzip [here] to access the files which are compressed. 


The Lottery Ticket [Link]

The Unknown Citizen [Link]

Trifles [Link]

Professions for Women [Link]

A Rose for Emily [Link]


Day 1 class notes [Download Link]

Day 2 class notes [Download Link]

Day 3 class notes [Download Link]

Day 4 class notes [Download Link]

Day 5 class notes [Download Link]

Day 6 class notes [Download Link]

Day 7 class notes [Download Link]

Day 8 class notes [Download Link]

Day 9 class notes [Download Link]

Day 10 class notes [Download Link]

Day 11 class notes [Download Link]

Day 12 class notes [Download Link]

Saturday, December 23, 2017

EL121N Marks [final update]

Click here to see your marks.

Note: All marks uploaded now.

Note 2: Any mark below 15/50 means course failure. Anyone who missed more than 4 classes also fails as well.  

Friday, December 22, 2017

What do you like about Mr.Farran?

Wonderful response for someone who apparently knows me very well.
Click to enlarge

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Interesting Book

We're all weird. Accept it and embrace it. Stop pretending to be normal. 

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Einstein's Riddle

Click here to attempt it. 

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Friday, December 15, 2017

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Did you know?

Did you know that the world's oldest university and library was created by a Muslim woman? 

Fatima Al-Fihri Al-Quraysh founded a mosque-religious school / college in the 8th century and it's still operational until this very day under "The University of al-Qarawiyyin" in Morocco. 

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

How We Learn

In schools and universities, they teach us about subjects, but they don't teach us how we actually learn. If you are serious about becoming a better student, teacher, parent or knowledge seeker, I highly recommend the 4 fantastic books below. They will give you a better understanding of how humans understand and acquire knowledge and what really works and what doesn't. These books will turn you into a more effective knowledge seeker and I guarantee will change your life.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Sunday, December 3, 2017

EL121N Presentation

Instructions: Click here

Stories: Click here 
(If you cannot open the files, download a program called "Winzip" first)

Post your full nameID Numbersection and your story preference in the comments of this post. Please check the table below first to make sure that the story you want is still available.

Remember first come first serve.

NOTE: Your presentations will last for 2 minutes and will be done in class on the 12th December. The above information (including the stories) applies to my students only. If you're registered with another teacher, please follow their instructions.

Students' Choices so far 
(last updated  12th Dec 5:40am)

Click to enlarge

Note #1: Fatma Reda Mohammad please choose another story.

Note #2: You must have a minimum of 10 marks (Quiz & MTA) so far if you wish to do the presentation. 

Note #3: I will have to approve your comment before you see it in the comments section.  

Monday, November 20, 2017

Book of Quotes [by students]

I'm working on publishing a book of English quotes by students, I'm halfway through the book, if you're interested in taking part, send me a quote (you personally wrote) with your full name to

This is your chance to shine! 

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Kindle [25% off]

Amazon have a great deal on the Kindle at the moment (25% off). Highly recommend. You can get it straight to your house with

Monday, November 13, 2017

Wonderful Commercial

Thank you for sharing Ghadeer

Friday, November 10, 2017

Life-Changing Books [from students]

The link below contains a personal book recommendations list from my students. These are books that have had a profound effect on them and changed their lives in one form or another. 

Click here to see the list. 

Thursday, November 2, 2017

How to Answer Part B on the EL121 MTA

After receiving some messages from my students, I realized some of you are having problems understanding how to answer the questions in Part B.

If you want to do well, please keep the advice below in mind.

Okay so the first thing you have to do is understand the nature of the question itself. Part B is a Close Reading section which means you need to focus your attention on the passage given and not the whole story.

One of the biggest problems I find when students answer this question is that they don't do the above. They talk about the WHOLE story when clearly this question is asking them to focus their thoughts and ideas on the given passage. So please be careful on the exam and do not make the mistake others have made before you.

To do well on this type of question, we also have to go back to the skills we talked about in class. Do you remember Critical Reading and Thinking?

Critical Reading means you approach the text carefully like a detective looking for clues, you read between the lines and try to understand why the author wrote what he did. You're interested in only only what is written but also HOW it is written. Critical Thinking means you ask questions and approach the text with an open mind.

So when you read the passage on the exam, focus on that passage only and read it carefully with an open mind. Remember every passage (no matter how small) reveals something about the setting, characters, theme, plot and many other things as well.

Just be sure to read the question carefully and give us an appropriate answer.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Monday, October 30, 2017

Sunday, October 22, 2017

But I Don't Have Time to Read!!

I cannot tell you how many times I've heard that excuse from my students whenever I tell them to read at home. Some other excuses include:

* I have a job
* I am married
* I have kids

Your job, marital status and children should not come in the way of education and seeking knowledge. 

When people say they don't have time to read, what they really mean is they're not organizing their time properly. If you seriously feel that you have no time to read, you've got your priorities sorted out in the wrong way my friend. 

How is it that we have so much time for other things in life, but when it comes to reading, time suddenly disappears? How much time do we spend on our phones? On Whatsapp? Snapchat? Instagram and other such applications? How much time do we spend on the TV watching mind-numbing shows?

It's time for a change. 

Let me tell you something that has helped me personally. Keep in mind that I have a job, I work from home as well, I'm married, and have two little angels who constantly need attention. Nevertheless, I still find time to read everyday. Yes EVERY day. Here's what I do:

Every day before I go to bed (and after putting the kids to sleep), I read for 15 - 20 minutes. My family now knows that this is my time. I do this EVERY single day without exception. Why is doing this every day important? Because if you include reading into your daily routine, with time it will become a HABIT and habits stick and are usually hard to break.

So pick a quiet time for yourself, it could be early morning when you wake up, sometime in the afternoon or before you go to bed. Give yourself 15 - 20 minutes and read any book of your choice. Do this daily and stick to it. The success of this method lies in your dedication to stick to it on a daily basis. 

Happy reading :) 

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Friday, October 20, 2017

True & False Question

When you keep all your options open. 

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Writing Session

If you're interested in improving your writing skills, please attend the event below held by the English Literary Club (ELC). 

The ELC is a wonderful group of dedicated students who are honestly making a big difference in our college. If you want to learn, have a good time and meet some amazing new people, then I highly suggest you join the ELC. 

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Improve your Writing!

Click on image to enlarge 

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Beautify your Thoughts

If you'd like to turn your personal thoughts and quotes into beautiful, inspiring images, look no further than Quozio.

All you have to do is write your quote in the box with your name and it will do the magic for you.



Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Use 'Ecosia' instead of 'Google'

'Ecosia' is a search engine equally as amazing as Google but the only difference is that by using 'Ecosia', you're actually helping the company plant trees. You can even check to see how many trees you've planted. Click here to know more.  

Monday, October 9, 2017

The Painting My Dad Rejected

In class, I once spoke about the time I decided to suddenly test my artistic abilities and start painting. When I enthusiastically showed my dad my very first painting (below), he wasn't really impressed and told me to "not waste my time" and "focus on other things in life". I still paint until this very day. 

Click on pic to enlarge

P.S. I know what you're all thinking...I'm sorry it's not for sale. 

Sunday, October 8, 2017

EL121N Critical Reading Exercise

If you want to do well on the EL121N Midterm & Quiz, you must know how to critically read and think about a text. I gave you all an exercise to do for homework, please check out the links below.

Notes: Click here 

Answer: Click here

Bonus: Click here to know the difference between "Thinking" & "Critical Thinking"

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Join Toastmasters

Toastmasters is an officially recognized international organization that has clubs all over the world to help members improve their communication skills and increase their confidence. 

Our Toastmasters club in AOU consists of teachers and students who meet regularly for one hour every Wednesday from 5 - 6pm in Room FE202. Join Toastmasters and give it a chance, you have nothing to lose and will eventually see the difference it will make in your life.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Why You Should Buy A Kindle

If you are a book-lover like me, then I strongly recommend you buy a Kindle Paperwhite. A Kindle is an electronic device built specifically for reading. Unlike other tablets, you can look at the screen for hours without hurting your eyes thanks to the e-ink technology in it that makes it similar to reading a physical book. It will change your life, seriously. It's the one item I always have on me (with my wallet and phone). Wherever I go, you will find my Kindle on me.

Some of the reasons that make it such a wonderful device are the following:

+ Device is small, compact and lightweight (perfect for travelling) 
+ Electronic ink display (read for hours without causing eyestrain)
+ Built in light (read comfortably at night)
+ Stores over 1000 books
+ Built in dictionary
+ Supports PDF & DOC formats
+ eBooks are cheaper (lots of free eBooks available online as well)
+ Allows you to highlight your favorite sentences/passages
+ Allows you to write notes on your eBook
+ Long battery life (I charge my device once every month)
+ Reasonably priced (48KD straight to your door with Mr.Babu)

Kindle Paperwhite

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Buying Books Online

So a lot of the times, I recommend or talk about interesting books which cannot be found at any of the local bookstores here in Kuwait.

I personally use the websites below to get books that don't exist in Kuwait:

1. Mr Babu - The great thing about this website is that it has everything! It takes all the books (and everything else) you see on amazon and adds a fee to them for shipping and delivery. Even if it's one book you want, Mr Babu will deliver it straight to your door. It usually takes around two weeks for the books to arrive so this is one website I highly recommend.

2. Jamalon - Another great website for books is Jamalon. Originally located in Jordan, this website offers a wide selection (English and Arabic) and ships books all over the world. Their books are reasonably priced but take longer to arrive.

3. KinoKuniya - Based in Dubai, this is probably one of the biggest bookshops you will ever come across. They have branches all over the world and their Dubai website will deliver books to Kuwait.

4. MaGrudy's - Another one from the UAE, this website has a great selection (English & Arabic) and are reasonably priced as well. They have a lot of the new books and will help you find books that are difficult to find.

5. PageTurner - A humble little website from Kuwait, they have a small selection of books but nevertheless they have all the popular titles. They will probably expand with time and become a more prestigious bookstore.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

The Dangers of Sugar

Our theme in Unit 2 (Taste & Nutrition) inspired me to share this video with you all. It's an eye opener (English subtitles available as well). 

Monday, September 25, 2017

Improve Your English!

If you want to improve your English / Arabic please buy stories like these. These stories are written in both English and Arabic (side by side), so if you don't know what a word means or if you don't understand an idea in one language, you can always look at the other side of the page and understand what is meant using the second language. 

You can find these books in Jarir Bookstore in Hawally. 

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Final Exam Schedule

Final Schedule [Download Link]

Note: Please discard any schedules you downloaded earlier as the one attached here has been updated and is the latest one. 

Friday, September 22, 2017

EL119: How to upload voice recordings on LMS

On the main EL119 page on LMS, you will see a link to upload your voice notes.

Watch the video below for more specific instructions.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Saturday, September 16, 2017

EL119 Online Practice Class Codes

Please note that the above codes are only for the sections mentioned. 

Thursday, September 14, 2017

80% off all books!

The underground bookstore in Hawally currently has a crazy sale on all their books. 80% off everything! They have a lot of classics, non fiction titles, tons of kids books, a good collection of educational material and popular titles. Even if you have enough books, just go for the experience, seriously. They will continue selling books until the sell out.

They open from 9:00am - 7:00pm (closed on Fridays)

Location: Click here
(Right next to the bakala, located in the basement)

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Currently Reading

Highly recommend this book written by the very talented Kuwaiti author Saud Al Sanousi. It's available in both English and Arabic and I started reading the first few chapters a couple of days ago and I'm having a hard time putting it down (almost done actually). The level of English is easy to understand and for those who have seen the TV series, please don't compare it to the book. The series does not do the book any justice, the book is a hundred times better.  

Monday, September 4, 2017

English Major (New Study Plan 2017/2018)

Click here to download the new study plan. 

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Saturday, September 2, 2017


Welcome AOU students!

On this blog, you'll find a lot of useful information related to the university and your courses. Please feel free to share you ideas, thoughts and questions with me if any should arise. I want to hear from you all!

Wishing you all a productive and fruitful semester.