Connect, Grow, Thrive

Winter 2020/2021

Cover of journal issue 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


6 President’s Page

7 From the editor’s desk

8 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