Wim Gombert

CHAPTER 5. Writing skills 71 INTRODUCTION About 20 years ago, Long (2000) wrote his seminal paper on the di erences between Focus on Form, Focus on Forms, and Focus on Meaning. In this article, he pointed at the lack of a widely accepted linguistic theory to form the foundation of communicative language teaching. At that time, generativism (Chomsky, 2009) was still the most commonly known and accepted theoretical linguistic framework, favoring a focus on grammar, even within a communicative approach. As a result, language instruction still predominantly focusedon language as anobject rather than amediumof communication. In the last decade or so, usage based linguistic theories with its basic tenets of learning through use and exposure have found their way into the eld of applied linguistics (cf. Tyler & Ortega, 2018). Rather than a focus on forms, focus on form and meaning have become more and more important theoretically. Against this backdrop, it needs to be pointed out that most foreign language (FL) teaching in secondary schools continues to be predominantly explicit and structurebased (Lightbown & Spada, 2013, p. 154); language teaching practices in the Netherlands are no exception (West & Verspoor, 2016). Although most FL course books used in Dutch schools claim to follow a communicative design inspired by the Communicative Language Teaching (CLT) approach and aim to develop communicative competence as advocated by di erent CLT proponents like Halliday (1970), Hymes (1972) and Widdowson (1978), a di erent picture emerges when observing classroom practices. e gradual acquisition of selected structural and lexical items constitutes the backbone of these course books, which o en adopt an explicit and deductive approach to grammar, emphasize lexical and grammatical accuracy and impose the use of the L1 as the language of instruction (Popma, 1997; Hermans-Nymark, 2006; Dönszelman, 2019). But during the last two decades, other language teaching approaches – more in line with usage-based theoretical perspectives on language learning and o en labeled DUB approaches – have been introduced in a number of Dutch secondary schools. e major tenets of a DUB approach are in line with a Focus on Form approach, but in addition, they include frequent and repeated exposure to meaningful and comprehensible input containing full chunks of language, active use of the FL, an implicit and inductive approach to grammar and a focus on productive skills in the classroom (Rousse Malpat et al., 2022). Dutch teachers are not eager to adopt such approaches. Even though they acknowledge that DUB approaches and a focus on oral production may help the learners in developing listening and speaking skills, they worry that they may do less well on reading (especially for the nal exam) and writing skills (Rousse Malpat & Verspoor, 2012; West & Verspoor, 2016). erefore, several studies have been conducted to compare the long-term e ects of the more traditional SB teaching program to those of a DUB-