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An Overview of Drilling Method as a Part of an ESL Class

An Overview of Drilling Method as a Part of an ESL Class | ITTT | TEFL Blog

This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Ma. C. Please note that this blog post might not necessarily represent the beliefs or opinions of ITTT.


The assessment of drilling is to monitor students learning and identify strengths and weaknesses. the teacher helps recognize where students are struggling and address problems immediately.


The goal of this drilling method is to evaluate students learning and at the end of the lesson, the students will be able to drill the language properly and for the teacher to identify if the drilling method is effective.

Examples for effective method includes:

  • Discussion
  • Activity
  • Drilling Exercise
  • Chorus Drill
  • Individual Drill
  • Observations

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first, define the definition of drilling, types of drilling and drilling, and fluency then gives students a drilling activity.


First, I want my students to be energy-filled and have an enthusiastic activity. I get the class to stand up and maybe come to the front of the class in a tight semi-circle – change the dynamic somehow to lift the energy levels.

Model the language item. I should be clear, enthusiastic, and confident as a model – the objective of the activity is, after all, for learners to then repeat your model. If you mumble or they can’t hear you, it defeats the object. Say the model 3 times.

Gesture to the class to repeat the model all together twice. This is called a chorus drill.

Highlight. Here you want to model and drill the particular aspect of the language item that you want to concentrate on. I should be selective in here – I will not highlight everything, instead focus on just one or two things. For example, if your target language is “used to” and you have modeled the sentence “I used to play tennis”, you might want to highlight the weak form of “to”. So you would model “…used to play…” (/juːstə pleɪ/). With tag questions, you might highlight rising or falling intonation, and with the sentence “I’ve been to Paris” the highlight could be both the contraction “I’ve” and the pronunciation of “been” (/bɪn/).

students and a teacher having an activity

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There are different ways to draw learners’ attention to your highlight. For example to highlight intonation patterns you can demonstrate with your arm or use the whiteboard. For contractions, put two fingers together to show that two words have become one. For individual sounds, you can compare two sounds with your voice or use the phonemic chart.

So, I will model the part of the language to highlight and then drill this with each student in turn. This is called an individual drill. Keep it fast-moving – move quickly from one student to the next to keep up the energy levels. If you need to re-model the highlight before each student repeats it.

Finally, drill the whole language item again, individually, and then as a chorus. Mix it up a bit here for variety and fun – for the boys and girls or shout and then whisper the model.

Keep suitable and fun for the whole activity so that the students will cooperate and learn.


  • Teachers provide an enthusiastic environment for learning that encourages the students to learn and cooperate in the activity.
  • The students can identify their weaknesses and strengths in drilling and fluency.
  • The students communicate effectively in the drilling activity.

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