By George Gonzales,2014-05-15 07:06
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    Repetition techniques

Advantages of repetition exercises

    1. They improve students’ pronunciation.

    2. Research shows that repetition helps students memorise the structure(s)

    3. They focus on accuracy, which is an essential first step before focusing on fluency.

    4. They bring the whole class together and refocus the students’ attention on the


    5. They give students confidence and provides a safer, less public environment

    before they practice in pairs / groups.

    6. They can be fun and provide variety of pace of the lesson.


Predict areas of difficulty

    Predict which words or phrases your students will find difficult. Spend more time on these in class.

Voice or tape

    Teachers can provide the students with a model ( example ) of the sentence(s) either with their own voice or by playing the tape. If using your own voice, be consistent - try to avoid saying it one way and then say it another way ( e.g. by changing the stress pattern ). This will confuse students.

Short, fast & challenging

    Repetition drills should be fairly short and done at a brisk and lively pace, so that the students get a lot of practice and don’t have time to get bored. The level of challenge for drills should also be high students will get bored quickly if they feel it’s too easy. High challenge will also give them more of a sense of achievement.

Don’t repeat with students

    After you provide the students with the model, don’t repeat with them. Instead, listen carefully to see what problems they are having.

“Signal” correctness

    Students need to know if they said it correctly or not. Some teachers only say something if a student has done something wrong. Don’t forget to signal or tell a student’s done it correctly. This encouragement could be verbal ( good, ok, well done, yes ) or using body language ( e.g. nod head )

Repetition techniques Updated : 13 September 2007


Highlight pronunciation features

    Show students how many syllables there are, where the stress is, as well as the individual sounds. Highlight the stress, linking and intonation on the board. Use big & small circles to show stress and unstressed syllables / words, semi circles to show linking, and arrows to show intonation. This shows students visually what’s happening to the sentence.

    With words which are spelt differently to how they are spoken, it may be better to show these to students after having done repetition exercises. Seeing the spelling might confuse them and lead them to try to pronounce the word the same way it’s spelt. Examples are “stomach” and “island”.

Use fingers

    Use your fingers to represent the number of words & how words are sometimes linked ( e.g. get up ) or contracted together ( “do not” > “don’t” ).

Use hands

    Use your hands to show stress & rhythm. As you say the sentence you could “punch” the

    words which are stressed.

Use arms

    Use your arms to show intonation. For “Wh” questions, demonstrate by raising your hand

    at the start of the sentence, moving it sideways as you’re saying the sentence and finally and lowering your hand as you finish the sentence. This shows the “contour” of the sentence. For yes / no question, start low and finish high. You could ask students to follow with their hands as you model the sentence. They could even do this while they repeat the sentences themselves.

Move from class > groups > individuals

    Class ( choral ) drilling takes the pressure off students. In order to pronounce a word correctly, students should not be expected to get it right first time. First, model the word / phrase for the class, by playing the recording or pronouncing the word yourself while students listen. Then, ask the whole class to repeat in chorus several times. By doing repetition exercises as a whole class, it allows students to try it out without feeling pressured. Students are more likely to learn when they are relaxed than when they are tense, stressed and anxious. Next, point to rows or columns, and ask them to repeat again. For dialogues, ask one half to take one of the roles, and the other half should take the other role. They can then switch roles. Finally, call on 3 or 4 random individual students to repeat - this keeps them alert and makes it more exciting! This whole procedure should be done fairly quickly.

Whisper & shout

    To make drills more fun, ask students to whisper & shout, in addition to repeating at normal volume. Research suggests that shifting the focus off of the actual feature can sometimes help students to produce it more accurately. When students forget what they

    are doing and enjoy it, they will become less inhibited and will find pronunciation easier. Other ideas mouth silently, sing, fast, slow, etc.

Repetition techniques Updated : 13 September 2007


    Sometimes the sentences are quite long and become difficult for the students to say as a whole. In this case, the best thing to do is to write the model on the blackboard and break the sentence into language chunks :

    e.g. What time// do you usually //get up, //Rick?

    Start from the end and get students to repeat. Each time adding the next chunk on so that finally students repeat the sentence as a whole.

For example :

Teacher : Rick

    Class : Rick

    Teacher : Get up ( indicate linking with fingers )

    Class : Get up

    Teacher : Get up, Rick

    Class : Get up, Rick

    Teacher : Do you usually

    Class : Do you usually

    Teacher : do you usually get up, Rick

    Class : do you usually get up, Rick

    Teacher : What time

    Class : What time

    Teacher : What time do you usually get up, Rick?

    Class : What time do you usually get up, Rick?


    Showing sentences broken down in chunks on the blackboard has another advantage it

    makes it makes it easier for students to see where they can substitute words & phrases. After drilling the initial sentence(s), say a substitute word, and let students repeat using the substitute word. For example :

Teacher : What time do you usually get up?

    Class : What time do you usually get up?

    Teacher : Run

    Class : What time do you usually run?


    Substituting works especially well when you have pictures you simply show them a

    picture as a prompt the teacher does not need to say a word!

Beehive drills

    Beehive drills are one of the most effective techniques for large classes who are sitting in rows. Present a clear 2-line dialogue ( either orally or on the blackboard ). Then, simultaneously, all the people sitting in a particular line, for example, to the extreme left next to the windows, ask the question to their partner. Their partner gives a true answer and then without pausing, turns to their other partner and ask the same question. These students answer and pass the question on. In this way, 7 or 8 pairs are involved at the same time, and the whole class is involved in saying something in a practice that lasts less than half a minute. Beehives can start from the sides, but also from front to back, and vice versa. The first time they are done, they are often chaotic, but as soon as the class gets used to them, it is sufficient for the teacher to present the model and simply say : “Beehive starting here” ( pointing ). The name of such practices is, of course, based on the fact that Repetition techniques Updated : 13 September 2007

    all the bees in the hive work at the same time. It is a model which is very appropriate for the language classroom!

Disappearing dialogue

    1. Write the dialogue on the board.

    2. Highlight examples of word linking & sentence stress. Model the dialogue either by using the tape of reading it yourself.

    3. Let students practice the dialogue in pairs, by reading from the board. 4. Delete some words from each sentence and leave a line for those deleted words. You could also draw some quick pictures above some of the lines to represent words. Again students work in pairs practicing the dialogue.

    5. Each time the students finish the dialogue delete more words and then let them practice again. Sometimes you may have to use pictures to represent some of the words. Continue until you are satisfied that students can remember the whole dialogue. Let them practice without looking at the board, and looking at their partner instead.

    This step-by-step approach allows students to gradually become more and more confident and ultimately gives them the maximum chance to be successful.

Repetition techniques Updated : 13 September 2007

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