Although many teachers and students think drills can be incredibly boring, it goes without saying they play an important role in the ESL classroom. Boring or useful… one thing is a fact: Drills are like that - They make students repeat target language until it sticks.
Drilling is a powerful teaching technique that leads to quick production of target language. However, if used incorrectly, students may be able to produce mechanically without real understanding of the meaning or context of what they are saying. They are best implemented in the early stages of a lesson, as target language is presented or to provide controlled practice.
Try to think drilling as a game where there is a whole scenario and objective and not just as repetition for the sake of repetition. I found below two example of drilling games to be used in the practice stage of your class. Believe me, students will be way more prepared for production stage. The key is “let’s think drilling outside the box”!!!
Lord of the Rings
Objectives: drilling the structure of questions and answers that you have recently covered in class.
Start the game by selecting four students. These students are the hobbits and will be asking the questions.
Get the four hobbits to stand in a straight line in front of the board.
You are the King. You have to sit on your throne behind the hobbits.
Assign each of the four hobbits a question, e.g. What's your name? How old are you? Where do you live? What's your favourite food?
The remaining students are the orks. They form a queue near the first hobbit.
The first hobbit asks the first ork in the queue their assigned question in this case "What's your name?" The ork replies "My name is ..." and they rock, paper, scissors.
If the ork wins, he or she can go on to the second hobbit who will then ask him or her the assigned question, e.g. How old are you?
The ork replies and again, they rock, paper, scissors. If the ork wins, they proceed to the third hobbit and so on.
However, if at any time an ork loses at rock, paper, scissors to a hobbit, they must return to the starting line and repeat the whole process.
If an ork manages to get pasted all four hobbits, they rock, paper, scissors with the king and if the ork wins, the king has been dethroned and the ork is now the King. You must rejoin the game with other orks in an attempt to get past all the hobbits to reclaim your throne.
Divide the class into teams of five or six.
Have each team stand up in a line.
The teacher holds up a flash card and makes a sentence based on the picture.
Each team must repeat the teacher's sentence three times and then sit down.
The team that sits down first wins.
You can vary the ending by having the students do different actions like turn around or jump before they sit down, etc.
Also, instead of every student speaking at the same time, you can get each student to repeat the sentences one at a time and then sit down.