COMMENTS FROM TWO FOCAL SKILLS PROGRAMS

The First FS Program

The Newest FS Program
For 25 years, students in the UWM IEP have been learning English in a FS design, advancing to university study and functioning successfully in academic coursework.

Teachers have enjoyed the creative possibilities of working with authentic materials in real language environments.

Students appreciate an approach that is easy to understand and which prepares them in an efficient manner to achieve their academic goals.

Rita Rutkowski Weber
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee



(Rita was a key member of the committee that designed the original FOCAL SKILLS program at UWM in 1988, and she has taught in it ever since. She directed the program for several years and has also served as Curriculum Coordinator.)

We decided to adopt FS for several reasons.

First, we wanted a program that is founded on the comprehension hypothesis. Nearly all of our entering students have already had years of classroom English, but they still need sufficient comprehensible input to allow them to truly acquire the language. FS satisfies that requirement easily.

Second, our program is a small one now, but we expect to grow quickly, so we wanted a structure that we could scale up easily. FS will let us do that.

Finally, the sequential unfoldment of listening, reading and writing skills in FS simply makes sense to me, based on my experience as both a language teacher and a language learner.

Mark Ellinghaus
Maharishi University of Management



(Under Mark's leadership, MUM adopted FOCAL SKILLS in 2012.)