In the previous article (article 21) our teacher trainers describe the virtues of drilling to prepare students for the speaking skill with the new target language being learnt.
The TEFL course will include practice in the several techniques, starting with ‘choral drilling’.
This is the most usual and recognisable type of drilling. It consists of the teacher making an utterance and all the students trying to repeat together.
Seldom mentioned in this type of practise is the teacher’s use of hand and arm signals. We need to avoid a cacophony of uncoordinated replies by the students, because it will mean the students struggle to hear their own attempt at repeating the teacher’s utterance, and make it difficult for the teacher to hear the students.
To avoid this, the teacher needs to hold up his hands in a ‘STOP’ signal, and repeat the utterance 4 or 5 times to really let the students tune in to the sample being given.
The teacher then, like an orchestral conductor, makes a grandiose swinging movement with the arms and hands, bringing them towards himself/herself, to imply ‘SPEAK NOW’.
Often, the first time, you may get a smattering of replies as not all the students will catch on. But do it again several times, starting with the ‘STOP’ gesture, and they will soon catch on.
This done, the teacher makes different target structure utterances, gesticulating all the time when the students are to remain quiet and listen, and when they are to repeat.
This technique needs trying quite a few times, in part to allow the teacher to gain the confidence in ‘conducting’ the students, and also to fine tune the movements required and see how groups respond to this kind of drilling.
Posted on May 29th, 2017