Winter 2020/2021

Focus on productive skills — speaking and writing

Eclectic is one of my favourite words. It conveys the impression of a broad and diverse range of items each distinctive in their own way but which, carefully selected and arranged, create a delightful, harmonious whole.

That delightful whole is what we hope you’ll find here. No two pieces are quite the same yet each crystallises the essence of their writer’s knowledge, experience, and enthusiasm to create a harmonious whole on the teaching of the productive skills: speaking and writing.

Eclectic as they may be, what the articles also have in common is their author’s dedication to the well-being of their language learners; their willingness to go that extra mile in the interests of their learners; their readiness to explore new possibilities; their awareness – and adoption – of the latest in the theory and practise of teaching; and, to our great benefit, their desire to share their experience and insights.

Alison Wiebalck, Focus Editor

Table of Contents

President’s Page
From the editor’s desk
Call for submissions: Summer 2021 and winter 2021
10 Continuing the conversation about the climate crisis: “green” talk in my classroom
11 Ask Alex


12 Revisiting retelling • by Frances (Fran) Watkins
14 At the Chalk Face Correction, feedback, and learning in online ‘chat’ • by Susan McDowell


19 Interview with Lone Bendixen Goulani • by Elsbeth Mäder
20 The Kurdish Girl Q&A • Elsbeth Mäder in conversation with Lone Bendixen Goulani on the writing of The Kurdish Girl


22 Productive Skills – speaking and writing Alison Wiebalck
23 Speaking skills and success criteria. why this matters more than ever in an online and socially distant context. Mark Heffernan & David Byrne
26 Hugh Dellar on teaching speaking Hannah McCulloch
28 Versatile conversations Elsbeth Mäder
30 ETAS Online Professional Development Day workshop by Urs Kalberer: Speaking for elementary learners Hannah McCulloch
34 Easy speaking is hard thinking Jędrek Stępień
36 Writing stories with young learners and reading aloud for fluency Coreen Croskery
38 A three-step approach to elementary writing Urs Kalberer
41 Writing – skill or craft? Trudy Krkoska
42 Planning writing for exam tasks “You should always plan” Chris Richards
44 English as a Lingua Franca for academic writing in Switzerland: insights from the university of St. Gallen Carina Gröner, Mark Kyburz, Andreas Härter
46 Weekly writing tips – a solution to help students recall the principles of good style in writing in their daily work Carol Waites
48 Applying plain language principles to sales contracts improves clarity and comprehension Dr Ingrid Slembek
50 Teaching productive skills to second language learners Mohammed Rhalmi
52 Versatile topic for speaking and writing: weddings Elsbeth Mäder
54 The role of deliberate practice in tasks involving productive skills Lynn Williams
56 It works for me: An essential toolkit for online teaching Matt Firth
59 Assessing speaking and writing skills using Artificial Intelligence Wendy Nash-Steer
61 Working through COVID-19 times and beyond: what could be the next normal for intercultural education, training and research? Jillaine Farrar
64 From the Archives


73 Introduction to resources • Hannah McCulloch
86 AFTER CLASS • Geoff Tranter

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