Drilling is a teaching technique in which the teacher asks the students to repeat several times items of language that they are learning. These can be vocabulary, structures, sounds or functions. Drilling, which involves students in responding to a prompt, originated in the behaviourist approach to learning and was intended to reinforce learning through habit formation. Many now criticise drilling for being a passive, boring and uncreative way of learning language. Others think it has a place in providing accuracy practice and security for learners at early moments of learning something new. There are various kinds of drill, for example: whole class, individual, repetition, substitution, transformation.
"Whenever I teach new vocabulary I ask my students to repeat it after me, sometimes four or five times. I make sure to listen carefully to their responses, and try to make the drill interesting by e.g. asking them to say things very quietly, very loudly, very slowly, very quickly etc. I think drilling, in small doses, helps learners, especially those who lack confidence."
Scrivener, J. (2011). Learning Teaching, 3rd edition. Oxford: Macmillan.
Thornbury, S. (2006) An A-Z of ELT. Oxford: Macmillan.
Ur, P. (1999). A Course in Language Teaching. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Ur, P. (2009). Grammar Practice Activities. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.