Revisiting the effectiveness of drilling for the Malaysian ESL classroom
Keywords:Drilling; Audiolingual method; Behaviourism; Language learning; Language teaching
Language drilling, derived from audiolingual method is undesirable among L2 learners and teachers, as it is acknowledged as old-fashioned compared to 21st century language learning approaches. Known to be associated with behaviourism, language drilling is far lacking and considered negative in language learning. However, the once used to be famous method has now been neglected by linguists when it comes to language learning. Yet, some teachers would still apply language drilling in low-proficiency classroom whenever necessary to familiarise students with new vocabulary, sentence structure, as well as pronunciation. Such method is still effective and it is seen as a relevant method in language learning, regardless of the limited studies conducted on the topic. The study aims at revisiting the effectiveness of drilling for the Malaysian ESL classroom. The study consisted of 20 Form 1 low-proficiency rural secondary school students and 3 teachers. Data was collected via quasi-experimental design on students’ pre-and-post test results. A semi-structured interview was also utilised for teachers on i) their experience of using language drilling and ii) perceptions towards using the method. The findings revealed positive perceptions from the participants on the use of language drilling in classroom. The non-autonomous learning method helped low-proficiency students to practise correct pronunciation and to be able to use acceptable sentence structure, both in speaking and writing. The results are integral for Malaysian secondary English teachers as utilising language drilling in low-proficiency classroom does enhance the students’ English proficiency level.