A behaviorist-aligned method called drill and practice involves continually giving the same things to students until they have mastered them. A technique of instruction characterized by methodical repetition of ideas, examples, and practice problems is referred to as drill and practice.
This repetition-based learning of skills and information can be challenging as it can get monotonous for the students. That’s when drill and practice activities come to your rescue. As teachers or educators, you might not want students to be bored of learning a process again and again. Utilizing creative activities encourages learning in a fun manner thereby enabling students to put their concentration and heart into performing the activities.
Check how the below-mentioned activities are a combination of learning, repeating the learned concepts, and increasing knowledge with every activity.
Drill and practice activities to get a stronghold of concepts
Certain concepts require repetition and practice to completely understand and get a hang of them. To avoid the process from getting monotonous, given below are some creative activities that can be employed to create a fun learning environment.
1. Listen and Repeat
The drill and practice method is all about repeating concepts to make students understand the usage of a particular concept or a method. This activity focuses on the usage of verbs and forming sentences to strengthen the grammar learning process.
- To conduct this activity, make a list of verbs and write them on chits
- Make students sit in a circle
- One student picks a chit and reads the verb
- Now, that student makes a statement with the inclusion of that particular verb
- After this, every other student has to make a new sentence using that verb but make sure the sentence has to be in sync with the first sentence just like forming a story.
- After one round gets over, another student picks a chit and the activity goes on
The drill and practice method is effective in teaching different grammatical concepts. This activity fosters learning about sentence building and vocabulary through repetition and being employed with any other grammar topic.
2. Find Someone
Finding someone who does a particular thing can be a creative activity in the classroom setting. This activity focuses on offering opportunities for the repetition of sentences to furnish language skills.
- To conduct this activity, use different questions on flashcards
- For example, these can be the questions:
- Who sleeps before 10 PM?
- Who generally eats eggs for breakfast?
- Who watches TV in the evening?
- Now, make teams of 3 students each
- Give them one flashcard with one particular question
- After this, they have to go around in the classroom and keep asking questions to different students
- They need to find someone who exactly fits the criteria
- Make sure these students find at least 5 other students who fit the criteria of the question
As students get an opportunity to keep repeating the question, they are more likely to understand the art of asking questions in the correct manner. It also helps them build communication skills with their classmates.
3. Story Goes this Way!
Storytelling and story writing are important concepts of grammatical skills. This activity focuses on the repetition of the story that enables students to remember more and develop their communication skills as well.
- To conduct this activity, take any storybook
- Now, start reading one sentence from the story
- As you read, ask students to repeat after you
- The twist is that you need to modify your voice, pitch, and expressions according to the dialogue in the story
- Now, ask students to also modify their pitch and rhythm just like you do
While this is a simple activity, students get an opportunity to understand more about rhythm, pitch, and setting their vocal skills. It also enhances their sentence-building skills because they repeat after you.
4. What’s the Opposite?
Drill and practice can also be better implemented when students are challenged to use creative thinking in the process. This activity focuses on building thinking skills and also implementing the aspect of spontaneity.
- To conduct this activity, every student has to stand against another student in a line
- Make sure students are facing each other
- Now, the first student starts with a sentence using any word given by the teacher
- He/she has to form a sentence with that word
- The student opposite to him/her has to transform the sentence into an opposite sentence
- For example, if the first student says, I like going out during the night, the opposite student has to say – I enjoy playing during the day
- Similarly, give every other student different words and ask students to follow the pattern. This way, they’ll keep repeating different antonyms and learn.
This is an interesting activity as students might be confused about the relevant antonyms. It also enables them to use different words in a sentence that might fit the requirement of an antonym.
5. Testing Memory!
Having a strong memory is an important part of the drill and practice method as when a student repeats, he/she learns and remembers the right and wrong things about a concept. Through the usage of flashcards, students get an opportunity to keep seeing the same words and understand the concepts better.
- To conduct this activity, use different flashcards and write mathematical tables on them
- Make sure there are two flashcards with the same table written on it
- Ask students to stand in a circle and play the music
- As the music stops, ask them to show their flashcard to everyone in the class and hide it within 5 seconds
- After this, play the music again and as it stops, ask students to find their pairs
- The activity keeps going unless everyone has found their pair
Such an activity can be a unique way to make students learn tables as they keep asking to find their pair. Multiplication facts can also be practiced and learned with the help of dice games. Also, you can use different words, signs, or symbols on flashcards to impart knowledge on the subject matter.
6. Read and Turn Pages
Drill and practice also include remembering texts and thoroughly reading them. This activity focuses on reading skills and tests the reading skills in an interesting manner.
- To conduct this activity, take any book/passage and ask the student to start reading the text
- As the students start reading, he/she might make some mistakes, helping them with correct pronunciation, pauses, and tone.
- Now, keep practicing the same passage as many times the student is not able to fluently read without any mistakes.
- Once the student has mastered that passage, introduce a new one with one step difficult from the previous passage.
- Similarly, keep changing books while the reading process goes on
As students keep reading different texts, they develop reading as well as vocabulary skills. Such an activity helps them understand the importance of adapting to different forms of reading and not just reading any text without understanding it.
7. The Classroom Market
A classroom that gets converted into real-life scenarios can indeed foster a fun learning environment. This activity focuses on asking a lot of questions and coming to a conclusion.
- To conduct this activity, every student has to become a grocer selling different vegetables
- Give a shopping list to students and artificial money to buy vegetables
- The shopping list must include names of different vegetables and the quantity required
- The student is supposed to go to all grocers and find the right groceries by asking questions about the availability, quantity, and prices
- After the student is done with the list, he/she has to calculate the total number of vegetables, money spent and money saved and submit it to you
Students have to ask many questions from so many different grocers thereby implementing the aspect of the drill here. Also, as they calculate the total, they are more likely to entirely repeat their purchase with prices and quantity. The such activity enables them to be quick at mathematical operations as well.
How can the method be beneficial for students with dyslexia and dyscalculia?
Students with dyslexia often face problems with language learning. It is also observed that these students might lack the necessary language skills even after instruction. Hence, the drill and practice approach is important to make students read in a fluent manner. An important research point is the inclusion of drill and repetition methods to strengthen vocabulary and language skills.
The drill and practice method focuses on the repetition of concepts in the areas of different subjects. Teachers and educators can be innovative with their approaches when dealing with students with Dyscalculia. Dyscalculic students often struggle with simple mathematical operations. In such cases, drills can help improve their understanding as they get an opportunity to go back to the concept multiple times. Whether it is learning multiplication or understanding addition, constant repetition leads to higher retention of the learned concepts.
Here, it can be concluded that students with learning difficulties need more time and are often slow compared to other students. To offer them the right education, drill and practice methods are highly helpful. Teachers and parents can constantly use different activities to improve the student’s memory, concentration, and patience-building skills.
Drilling is a crucial part of learning environments as students can better remember concepts when presented repeatedly. It also enhances learning through the usage of different activities where students do not realize that they are simply repeating. The above-mentioned activities help educators and teachers create a transformational environment that caters to language development, vocabulary skills, and mathematical concepts. Drill and practice activities can be modified depending on the subject and required area of improvement creating a fun learning environment in the classroom thereby encouraging participation and enthusiasm in the class.
- Oakland, T., Black, J. L., Stanford, G., Nussbaum, N. L., & Balise, R. R. (2016). An Evaluation of the Dyslexia Training Program. Journal of Learning Disabilities. https://doi.org/10.1177/002221949803100204
I am Shweta Sharma. I am a final year Masters student of Clinical Psychology and have been working closely in the field of psycho-education and child development. I have served in various organisations and NGOs with the purpose of helping children with disabilities learn and adapt better to both, academic and social challenges. I am keen on writing about learning difficulties, the science behind them and potential strategies to deal with them. My areas of expertise include putting forward the cognitive and behavioural aspects of disabilities for better awareness, as well as efficient intervention. Follow me on LinkedIn