Posted by: lyonenglishnetwork | October 24, 2011

Drilling and language learning

I believe that it’s not just in the classroom that you can learn English.

But in the classroom I tend to use a variety of methods (pairwork, puzzle solving…)

One of the methods I use is called drilling.

Drilling is basically repeating and I’ve been using it from one particular set of listenings:

The objective for the trainee is clear: repeat exactly what the speaker says. This is not as easy as it sounds. I’m using this technique mainly with beginners. Although the speaker is speaking very slowly (VERY comprehensible INPUT), it’s not always easy for some of the trainees.

I’m comparing it to doing a workout in the gym.

It’s proving great for the PAST and for PHRASAL VERBS.

The learner is forced to repeat (even if they don’t understand the meaning straightway), then naturally they wonder what they’ve said means and end up asking me the question.



  1. An extention of ‘drilling’ is ‘weaving’ – whereby you, the teacher start the ball rolling with a question to student 1 (eg. what’s the best film you’ve ever seen?), student 1 answers (eg. the best film I’ve ever seen was Pulp Fiction), then student 1 poses this question to student 2, who answers – and hence round the room.
    Good for repeated listening and accuracy. This is very much the ‘Inlingua method’. I haven’t used it for a long time, but in short bursts it can be quite good, especially for ‘controlled practice’.

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