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Pronunciation
patterns

My impression of drilling - intensive language practice - repetition practice - is that drills are really popular with students but not necessarily with teachers. Teachers feel silly doing them & so don't do as much as they could to help their students initially with new language that is for oral production. Maybe it's a question of not knowing the range & techniques that can be used. Here is a list of the more common drills: 

A few of the more commmon oral drills

1. Repetition drill.

T: She went to the cinema.
Stds: She went to the cinema.

2. Substitution drill.

T: She went to the cinema.
Stds: She went to the cinema.
T: Theatre
Stds: She went to the theatre.
T: Disco
Stds: She went to the disco

3. Question and answer drill

T: Where did she go yesterday?
Std 1: She went to the cinema
Std 2: Where did she go on Monday?
Std 3: She went to the disco.

4. Transformation drill

T: She went to the cinema.
Stds: She's going to go to the cinema.
T: She went to the disco.
Stds: She's going to go to the disco.

5. Personalised drill

T: What does your boss make or let you do?
Std 1: He makes me work until seven o'clock.
Std 2: She makes me ....
Std 3: She lets me ....

6. Discrimination drill

T - holding pictures of people in different uniforms/job types & pictures of the same people doing their jobs. She holds up a picture & the stds respond. Present simple/continuous discrimination.
Stds: She's a teacher.
Stds: She's teaching
Stds: She's an architect.
Stds: She's drawing some plans.

And some techniques that can be used with drills:

A few techniques used when drilling

Individual drill - the teacher asks an individual to repeat the sentence.

Chorus drill - the teacher asks the class to repeat the sentence together.

Mumble drill - the stds mumble the sentence to themselves to get confident in saying it before the chorus & individual drill.

Mingle drill - the stds stand up & wander round asking & answering questions.

Backchaining - for long sentences that you are drilling to help the stds remember & say. eg.
Tch: a million pounds?
Stds: a million pounds?
Tch: if you won a million pounds?
Stds: if you won a million pounds?
Tch: What would you do if you won a million pounds?
Stds: What would you do if you won a million pounds?
Backchaining, rather than frontchaining, helps the teacher to give constant models with regard to the prominence & tone.

Drills were used extensively within audiolingual approaches but nowadays we recognise their limitations & use them for pronunciation practice in helping the students to get their mouths round the items. It is a chance for them to say it right in a controlled, safe way before more challenging tasks with the new language. They can be used after the presentation & when correcting during a controlled activity or after a freer one. These are for oral practice so if the language you are introducing is used in the written form then give a written drill! Drills can become a bit boring & predictable if you don't keep them snappy & lively so make them fun, & with individual drilling dot around the room to keep everyone on their toes.

It's also not the case that higher, more advanced levels don't need drilling. If they find something difficult to say then drill them. Clearly they are going to find less language that is difficult to say than lower levels but all the same if it's difficult to say then help them out.

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