Choral Q&A Substitution Drill

If your students have little exposure to English outside the classroom, one of the main goals of your lesson should be providing opportunities for production in class. Practice and repetition are prerequisites to mastering anything, and drilling is one of the best ways to give learners intensive practice.

Suppose your target grammar is a question and answer: ‘Where are you going?’ and ‘I’m going to the _______.’ The target vocabulary is probably places in this example (e.g. bank, hospital etc). Pictures or flashcards can be used as prompts.

Put students in two groups, A and B. Repeating after you, group A asks group B the question, “Where are you going?” Group B responds by repeating after you, “I’m going to the bank.” Now it’s group B’s turn to ask the question.

Keep going back and forth, drilling at a natural pace. Eventually you can remove yourself from the drill and let them take over, prompting them with the flashcards.

Because drilling is repetitive by nature, keep it short. Five minutes or so. Anything longer tends to drag. But don’t be afraid to come back to it later in the lesson. Drilling is one of the best ways to increase student talking time and enliven an otherwise flagging lesson.

For more info on drilling, head over to British Council’s blog here.

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