Modular design

The core curriculum of FOCAL SKILLS is covered in 4 modules.  Each module (except the Advanced) focuses on a particular language skill, which we call its focal skill.  The activities in each module are selected to take full advantage of the supporting skills.  Here is an overview of the modules.

Skill Profile

Assigned Module

Primary Activities

Weak listening


Movie Technique
Talk Show

Good listening
Weak reading


Interactive Reading
Personal Reading

Good listening
Good reading
Weak writing


Personal Reading
Free Writing with
  Focused Rewrites

Good listening
Good reading
Good writing


Academic preparation

In an intensive program, students spend 3 hours a day on the focal skill and one hour in an elective. Genuine speaking opportunities are integrated naturally, appropriately, and supportively into all activities, every hour, every day.

FOCAL SKILLS classes are lively, interesting, and productive, because:

  • We use authentic materials.
  • Students' affective filters are low.
  • The students all need to improve in the focal skill of the module, and they all have the prerequisite supporting skills that enable effective work on that focal skill.  This is assured by the placement system.

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