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Topics - A.S. Rafi

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I  was wondering if our colleagues would be interested to carry out similar kind of research from their own perspectives and classroom contexts? The abstract  is given below. I have access to Taylor & Francis and I can provide you with the full text for gaining more insights.

The poor classroom practices of English teachers at elementary level in Indonesia have been attributed to the inadequacy of pre-service education. Yet, whether in-service professional development (PD) also plays a role is unknown. This study investigated the perspectives of 23 teachers, 14 teacher educators and 3 school principals regarding the efficacy of in-service PD in preparing elementary English teachers. The results demonstrate that the shortage of quality teacher educators contributed to the inadequacy of in-service PD. While this study calls for more systematic efforts to tackle the shortage of quality teacher educators, it also highlights the needs for PD of teacher educators. Furthermore, the intrusion of educational administrators adversely affected the design and administration of teacher preparation programs, resulting in the poor training management and the ambiguous selection of training participants. The study further asserts the necessity for empowerment of teacher educators in order to enable them to contribute to the much-needed transformation of in-service PD.

English / What does the Quran really say about a Muslim woman's hijab?
« on: April 08, 2017, 12:25:14 AM »
"if Muslims really brought back the Islam from 600 ad that would be an enormous step forward"- a highly recommended watch on "fake hijab" thing by Samina Ali

Sometimes, you spend the whole day longing to go to sleep, but when the time comes you sit lying wide awake for hours. The stresses of every day life make this a very common problem for thousands of us.
If you’ve had this experience, try out some of the ideas below. Each one has been proven to help you get a perfect night’s sleep and leave you feeling fresh and energetic the next morning. Goodbye to tiredness!

1. Eat food with magnesium in it.
Research suggests magnesium plays a key role in our ability to sleep through the night. Try chowing on magnesium-rich foods such as pumpkin seeds, spinach, and Swiss chard. Or pop a ZMA supplement, another form of magnesium, about half an hour before bedtime.

English / 12 reasons why Phoebe from Friends is actually the worst
« on: March 28, 2017, 08:04:04 PM »
Phoebe Buffey is my all time favorite. She is unapologetically weird, sincerely funny, incredibly difficult, stupidly hard. I love this character. Few quotes from her like "I wish but I don't want to" tells you how effortlessly you can say no to things you really don't want. Recently Pheebs has been criticized as the worst from all the friends. But I found the charges put are as stupid as Phoebe herself is. Have a read:

Another one:

So would you actually be friends with her? :P

English / Cold Play: Chris's depression
« on: March 23, 2017, 12:20:27 AM »
Coldplay are a British rock band formed in 1996 by lead vocalist and keyboardist Chris Martin. Chris reveals 'depression' following split from Gwyneth Paltrow... as he dubs their divorce a 'weird one'.

Read more:

English / Edinburgh Dungeon: Nobody tells stories like they do
« on: March 23, 2017, 12:00:15 AM »
The Edinburgh Dungeon is a unique visitor attraction that brings together an amazing cast of theatrical actors, special effects, stages, scenes and rides in a truly unique and exciting walkthrough experience that you see, hear, touch, smell and feel. It's hilarious fun and sometimes a bit scary.

For more information:

English / Haunted England: The Tower of London
« on: March 20, 2017, 11:01:51 PM »
The Tower of London’s official name is Her Majesty’s Royal Palace and Fortress. The castle is located in Central London on the north bank of the River Thames. It is one of the most visited places in the UK not only for its rich history but also for its ghosts.

Yo can join a ghost hunt. Detailed given here:

English / Beatles Story
« on: March 19, 2017, 02:46:56 PM »
Creative, charismatic and eternally cool the Beatles Story tells the roller coaster journey of four lads who shook the world forever.

Join The Beatles on their journey; first conquering Liverpool, and then the world, through immersive recreations of key locations from the band’s career including The Casbah Club, The Cavern Club, and Abbey Road Studios.

With information, imagery, memorabilia and video interviews with Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Olivia Harrison and Yoko Ono, the Beatles Story tells the story of the greatest band in the world.

To read the full article:

দিনে আট ঘণ্টা কর্মদিবসের দাবিতে আন্দোলন এখন শুধুই ইতিহাস। শ্রম আইন অনুযায়ী, সরকারি ও বেসরকারি ক্ষেত্রে কর্মচারীদের দৈনিক কাজের স্বীকৃত সময় আট ঘণ্টা।

তবে সেই আট ঘণ্টাই নয় এমনকী ১০-১২ ঘণ্টাতেও রূপান্তরিত হয় বিভিন্ন প্রতিষ্ঠানে। কিছু জায়গায় কর্মদিবস আট ঘণ্টা নির্ধারিত থাকলেও ‘বস’কে খুশি রাখতে ঘণ্টার পর ঘণ্টা চলে কাজ।

যে কারণেই হোক, যারা দিনে আট ঘণ্টার বেশি সময় অফিসে কাটান, তাদের জন্য কিন্তু ভবিষ্যতে অপেক্ষা করছে সমূহ বিপদ। তার জন্য মৃত্যু সংকেত। একটি সমীক্ষা বলছে, দিনে আট ঘণ্টার বেশি কাজ করলে ত্বরান্বিত হবে মৃত্যু।

ঘণ্টার নিরিখে কতটা সময় কাজ করলে তা শরীরের পক্ষে ক্ষতিকর হতে পারে তা নিয়ে গবেষণা চালানো হয়েছে। প্রায় ৬ লাখ মানুষের ওপর সমীক্ষা চালিয়ে দেখা গেছে, যারা সপ্তাহে ৫৫ ঘণ্টা বা তার বেশি সময় কাজ করেন, তাদের মধ্যে বেড়ে যায় স্ট্রোক হওয়ার সম্ভাবনা।

স্বাভাবিক যে কাজের সময় অর্থাত্‍‌ যারা সপ্তাহে ৩৫ থেকে ৪০ ঘণ্টা কাজ করেন, তাদের থেকে অধিক সময় অফিসে কাটানো কর্মীদের স্ট্রোক হওয়ার সম্ভাবনা বেড়ে যায় ৩৩%। শুধু তাই নয়, ১৩% ক্ষেত্রে বেড়ে যায় হার্টের সমস্যাও।

গত ৯ বছর ধরে ইউরোপ, আমেরিকা ও অস্ট্রেলিয়ার ৬,০৩,৮৩৮ জন পুরুষ ও মহিলা কর্মীদের ওপর ২৫টি সমীক্ষা চালানো হয়েছে। তারই সম্মিলিত ফল প্রকাশিত হয়েছে এই সমীক্ষায়।

লন্ডন ইউনিভার্সিটি কলেজের অধ্যাপক মিকা কিভিমাকি এই সমীক্ষা চালিয়েছেন।


English / 10 Points for Fasting- By Sheikh Yusuf Estes
« on: June 20, 2015, 08:19:46 AM »

There are important points to understand while fasting the month of Ramadan in order to take the maximum benefit from the wisdom and teachings we gain in this blessed month, in which Allah sent down His last revelation, the Quran.

Consider first an important statement of our Prophet Muhammad (Peace and blessings be upon him), when he said, "Don't let the day of fasting be the same as the day you don't fast." He was talking about our behavior and attitude being the same whether we are fasting or not fasting and not having an effect on us. Let us keep this in mind while we consider the following ten points of fasting Ramadan, Insha'Allah.

One of our beloved teachers of Islam, Dr. Tamimi, a student of knowledge of Madinah and Dr. Jafar Idris, produced interesting and beneficial lectures about the importance and rewards of fasting Ramadan. The following is based on some of this excellent knowledge:

POINT 1: Gaining Taqwa

Allah legislated fasting for gaining taqwa,

"O you who believe, fasting has been prescribed for you as it has been prescribed for those before you, so that you may attain taqwa." [Noble Quran 2:183]

Taqwa in this case means to make a shield between oneself and Allah's anger and Hellfire. So we should ask ourselves, when we break our fasts, 'Has this fasting day made us fear Allah more? Has it resulted that we want to protect ourselves from the hellfire or not?

POINT 2: Drawing closer to Allah

This is achieved by reciting and reflecting on Al-Quran during night and day, attending the taraweeh prayers, remembering Allah, sitting in circles of knowledge and, for those who can, making 'umrah. Also for those who can, making I'tikaf (seclusion) in the last ten nights of Ramadan, so as to leave all worldly pursuits and seclude oneself in a masjid just thinking of Allah, so as to bring oneself closer to Allah. When one sins, one feels distant from Allah. That is why one might find it heard to read the Quran and come to the masjid. However, the obedient worshipper feels closer to Allah and wants to worship Allah more, because he is not shy from his sins.

POINT 3: Acquiring patience and strong will

Allah has mentioned patience more than seventy times in the Quran and has commanded patience in more than sixteen ways in His Book. So when one fasts, and gives up one's food and drink, and one's marital sexual relations for those hours, one learns restraint and patience. This Ummah needs men and women that are strong willed, who can stand upon the Sunnah and the Book of Allah and not waver in front of the enemies of Allah. We do not need emotional people, who just raise slogans and shout, but when the time comes to stand upon something firm, they cannot do so, they waver.

POINT 4: Striving for Ihsan (righteousness and sincerity) and staying away from riya (showing off)

Ihsan means to worship Allah as if one seeks Him, and even though one does not see Him, He sees all. Hasan al-Basri said, "By Allah, in the last twenty years, I have not said a word or taken something with my hand or refrained to take something with my hand or stepped forth or stepped back, except that I have thought before I have done any action, 'Does Allah love this action? Is Allah pleased with this action?' So when one is fasting, one should gain this quality of watching oneself and also staying away from riya (showing off). That is why Allah said in a hadith qudsi, "Fasting is for Me and I reward it." (al-Bukhari) Allah singles out fasting from all other types of worship saying, "Fasting is for Me", because no one knows whether you are fasting or not, except Allah. For example, when one is praying or giving charity or making tawaf, one can be seen by the people, so one might do the action seeking the praise of the people. Sufyan ath-Thawri used to spend the nights and the days crying and the people used to ask him, "Why do you cry, is it due to the fear of Allah? He said, 'No.' They said, "Is it due to the fear of the Hellfire?" He said, 'No. It is not the fear of Hellfire that makes me cry, what makes me cry is that I have been worshipping Allah all these years and doing scholarly teaching, and I am not certain that my intentions are purely for Allah.'"

POINT 5: Refinement of manners, especially those related to truthfulness and discharging trusts.

The Prophet (Peace and blessings be upon him) said, "Whoever does not abandon falsehood in word and action, then Allah has no need that he should heave his food and drink." (al-Bukhari) What we learn from this, is that we must pay attention to the purification of our manners. The Prophet (Peace and blessings be upon him) said, "I was sent to perfect good manners." (Malik) So we must check ourselves, are we following the behaviour of the Prophet (Peace and blessings be upon him)? For example: Do we give salam to those we don't know and those we do know? Do we follow the manners of Islam, by telling the truth and only telling the truth? Are we sincere? Are we merciful to the creation?

POINT 6: Recognizing that one can change for the better

The Prophet (Peace and blessings be upon him) said, "Every son of Adam sins and the best of the sinners are those who repent." (Ibn Majah) Allah provides many opportunities to repent to Him and seek His forgiveness. If one was disobedient they can become obedient.

POINT 7: Being more charitable

Ibn 'Abbas said, "The Prophet (Peace and blessings be upon him) was the most charitable amongst the people, and he used to be more so in the month of Ramadan when Jibril (angel Gabriel) used to meet him on every night of Ramadan till the end of the month." (al-Bukhari) The Prophet (Peace and blessings be upon him) said, "He who gives food for a fasting person to break his fast, he will receive the same reward as him, without nothing being reduced from the fasting person's reward." [At-Tirmidhi]

POINT 8: Sensing the unity of the Muslims

The Prophet (Peace and blessings be upon him) said, ".Those of you who will live after me will see many differences. Then you must cling to my Sunnah and the Sunnah of the rightly guided khalifahs (leaders). Hold fast to it and stick to it." [Abu Dawud] In this month we sense that there is a possibility for unity, because we all fast together, we break fast together, we all worship Allah together, and we pray Salatul-`Eid together. Therefore we sense that the unity of Muslims is possible. It is possible for Muslims to be a single body, but this will only be achieved when obedience is only to Allah and His Messenger.

POINT 9: Learning discipline

The Prophet (Peace and blessings be upon him) made us adhere to discipline and strictness, strictness that does not lead to fanaticism or going outside the bounds that Allah has laid down. One cannot knowingly break the fast before the sunset, as this will not be accepted by Allah. Muslims should learn to be very strict in their lives, because they are people of an important message, which they mold their lives around.

POINT 10: Teaching the young to worship Allah

It was the practice of the people of Madinah, that during the fast of 'Ashura (which is now a recommended fast of one day) to get their children to fast with them. When the children would cry of hunger and thirst, their parents would distract their attention by giving them some sort of toy to play with. The children would break their fast with their parents. (as mentioned in al-Bukhari).

So the young should be brought to the masjid and they should pray with their parents, so that they are able to get into the habit of becoming worshippers of Allah. If one does not encourage children to fast when they are young, they will find it very difficult to fast for thirty days at the age of puberty. This is why the Prophet (Peace and blessings be upon him) said, "Command your children to pray at the age of seven and beat them at the age of ten (if they do not pray." (Hakim)

There is yet another consideration for the fasters of Ramadan, although this is not something we usually consider as the motivation for following Allah's command, and that is the physical and medical advantages usually associated with fasting.

We are ordered to take care of our health and provide our body with its rights over us. Our prophet, (Peace and blessings be upon him), told us our body has rights on us and in one hadith he said, "The strong believer is better and more beloved to Allah than the weak believer, and there is good in everyone." Sahih Muslim

Make du'a for us while you are fasting -please, Insha'Allah. May Allah accept your fasting and put you in His Jannah, ameen.

English / reading for fun: better not bringing into practice!
« on: May 14, 2015, 12:57:34 PM »
During a robbery in Guangzhou, China, the bank robber shouted to everyone in the bank: "Don't move. The money belongs to the State. Your life belongs to you."
Everyone in the bank laid down quietly. This is called "Mind Changing Concept” Changing the conventional way of thinking.
When a lady lay on the table provocatively, the robber shouted at her: "Please be civilized! This is a robbery and not a rape!"
This is called "Being Professional” Focus only on what you are trained to do!
When the bank robbers returned home, the younger robber (MBA-trained) told the older robber (who has only completed Year 6 in primary school): "Big brother, let's count how much we got."
The older robber rebutted and said: "You are very stupid. There is so much money it will take us a long time to count. Tonight, the TV news will tell us how much we robbed from the bank!"
This is called "Experience.” Nowadays, experience is more important than paper qualifications!
After the robbers had left, the bank manager told the bank supervisor to call the police quickly. But the supervisor said to him: "Wait! Let us take out $10 million from the bank for ourselves and add it to the $70 million that we have previously embezzled from the bank”.
This is called "Swim with the tide.” Converting an unfavorable situation to your advantage!
The supervisor says: "It will be good if there is a robbery every month."
This is called "Killing Boredom.” Personal Happiness is more important than your job.
The next day, the TV news reported that $100 million was taken from the bank. The robbers counted and counted and counted, but they could only count $20 million. The robbers were very angry and complained: "We risked our lives and only took $20 million. The bank manager took $80 million with a snap of his fingers. It looks like it is better to be educated than to be a thief!"
This is called "Knowledge is worth as much as gold!"
The bank manager was smiling and happy because his losses in the share market are now covered by this robbery.
This is called "Seizing the opportunity.” Daring to take risks!
So who are the real robbers here?  ;)


The advent of digital technology has made distractions more and more regnant, and focusing seemingly unachievable that it’s not surprising to see people texting or emailing even in the midst of a meeting or a presentation. Are you guilty of this? If you don’t want your poor concentration skills to impede your productivity, then you may find these tips on training your brain to focus very useful.

English / 4 Ways to Cheer Yourself Up When You’re in a Bad Mood
« on: May 05, 2015, 02:25:54 PM »
Spruce up your home

 This doesn’t mean a floor-to-ceiling scrub-down (unless you’re into that sort of thing); it means tidying up, doing a quick vacuuming/sweeping session, washing the bedding (nothing feels cozier than clean sheets!), and putting out candles or a vase of flowers (or branches with fall leaves, or whatever else you have handy).

English / What you can do to remove stress and irritation
« on: May 05, 2015, 02:18:45 PM »
Stress and irritation can be caused by a wide range of things and can be different for different people. When you notice something that distracts or annoys you try to sort it out straightaway or at least plan a time to get it fixed - otherwise it will continue to aggravate you.

A lot of stress and irritation is occurs at a subliminal level - you may not notice things consciously or may have put annoyances out of your mind. But that doesn't mean they are not affecting you. Your internal systems are always alert to possible dangers and changes around you.

Many of the basic placement rules of feng shui stem from just this understanding. Removing the irritation of bad design makes you more relaxed and open to creativity.

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