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Repetition alias Drilling: Is it an Effective Way to Remember Language Points?

Repetition alias Drilling: Is it an Effective Way to Remember Language Points? | ITTT | TEFL Blog

Drilling refers to the teaching method by which students repeat words or phrases that are said by the teacher. With this learning method, the teacher fulfills his or her role as a model by being the source of correct English pronunciation and vocabulary. Students are then prompted to emulate the words and phrases in a repetitive manner.

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

Drilling is often used in the study phase (which mostly focuses on language construction) of a lesson to ensure that students are using correct pronunciation. It is done either as a choral which means that the entire class repeats together what the teacher said or it is done individually where individual students are highlighted to repeat what was said. Choral drilling gives students a safe environment to practice pronunciation as individual mistakes are not obvious which is the opposite of what happens when individual drilling is done. Teachers are encouraged to use a ‘3 by 3’ drill which is a combination of both the choral and individual drilling. For the ‘3 by 3’ drill, the class is asked to repeat a word or phrase together three (3) times. This is followed by the teacher asking three (3) individual students to repeat the word or phrase.

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The effectiveness of drilling as a teaching method can be seen in its many benefits. These include but are not limited to the following:

  • The repetition of words when drilling acts as a means of helping students to commit to memory words and their various sounds.
  • The repetition of words in drilling also helps students to practice saying words and phrases especially those that they may consider being difficult. This helps students to improve their ability to speak the English language accurately which has a positive impact on their confidence and further class participation.
  • Drilling helps students to focus on the accuracy and fluency of the language as they can hear the correct pronunciation of words and phrases and can, therefore, make the necessary adjustments.
  • Drilling allows for immediate feedback on the accuracy of pronunciation.
  • Additionally, drilling creates a safe space for students to experiment with producing language, especially in a choral where individual mistakes are not easily noticeable.

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Drilling is not only beneficial to students as outlined above.

It also helps the teacher to get all of their students involved in the lesson which in turn helps with the management of the class. Also, drilling helps teachers to know if students are having difficulties with the pronunciation of words. Teachers are then able to use this knowledge to adjust their lessons to rectify this problem.

It is also worth stating that drilling is an effective teaching method as a result of the fact that it is still being used in the classroom for teaching foreign languages. Discontinuation of its use would suggest that it is no longer applicable and effective and this is not the case.

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As with other teaching methods, drilling on its own would not aid students in learning all that they should and drilling cannot be facilitated in all of the phases of a lesson. However, for the purposes for which it is used, as stated above, it is an effective teaching method.

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