Michael Swan and Catherine Walter take issue with the current emphasis in the teaching of listening and reading on higher-order skills-and-strategies training. They argue that L2 learners typically already possess the relevant skills and strategies necessary for listening and reading in L2, and, by implication, can and do deploy them. Further, they claim that research evidence provides little support for skills-and-strategies training. In this Counterpoint article, I subject these claims to closer scrutiny and find them wanting. I also argue that even if the need for ‘training’ is questionable, skills-and-strategies instruction nevertheless offers rich and varied language learning opportunities through the ways it directs learners to engage with text.

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