The Evidence is IN: Drills are OUT

Authors

  • Wynne Wong PhD,

    1. The Ohio State University
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      Wynne Wong (PhD, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign) is Assistant Professor of French and Second Language Acquisition at The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio.

  • Bill Van Patten PhD

    1. The University of Illinois at Chicago
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      Bill VanPatten (PhD, University of Texas, Austin) is Professor of Spanish and Second Language Acquisition at The University of Illinois at Chicago, Illinois.


Abstract

Abstract: This article focuses on an aspect of traditional instruction — the form-only activities commonly called “drills,” “mechanical practice,” or “pattern practice.” The authors first distinguish language as an internalized system from language as a productive skill and review the nature of mechanical pratice. They contend that despite claims made about communicative language teaching and its goals, drills and form-only foreign language activities are still widely used in today's classrooms. After reviewing research on the utility of drills, the authors conclude that these activities are not necessary or beneficial for foreign language acquisition or the development of fluency and should be discarded from instructional practice

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