Some Characteristics of Effective Practice in Second Language Acquisition



Abstract  This article focuses on the importance of practice as a necessary component in learning a second language. Second language practice is categorized according to four general approaches to teaching foreign language: the grammar-translation (G-T) approach; the audiolingual (AL) approach; the programmed instruction (P-I) approach; and the contextual approach. A distinction is made between drill and practice. A review of research findings in related fields has shown that: (1) repetition as a learning technique is not as effective as current classroom practice implies; (2) the more meaningful the material to be learned, the better the student will learn and retain it; (3) there is a need for great variety within an experiential approach to structuring the learning environment; (4) the use of printed and other visually oriented learning materials should be an integral part of any program of instruction; and (5) the conscious learning of specific grammar rules may not be as important in learning to speak a second language as many teachers believe. The article concludes with the author's interpretation of the research findings and some suggestions for implementation of these in actual classroom situations.