Pattern-practice is any exercise in which there is repetition of a pattern with variation of the elements. Simple repetition is not pattern-practice in the strict sense. Real pattern-practice is that through which the child learns to form a set of new habits in place of the old ones of the mother-tongue.
Importance of Drill (or Pattern-Practice)
Pattern-Practice or Drill is a useful device for fixing the language material already learnt in the minds of the students. Thompson and Wyatt have said: “The power of expression in a language is a matter of skill rather than of knowledge; it is a power that grows by exercise, not merely by knowing meanings or rules.” Pattern-Practice or Drill is such an exercise as will give the required power of expression to the learners. It provides activity. It equips the child with fluency in speech. “Language learning is over learning; any-thing less is of no use.”
Suggestions for the Use of Drill Techniques
1. Drills must always be carefully planned.
2. In addition to learning the basic patterns of the language, the students must learn the basic formulae of the language, like “Please”, “Thank you”.
3. Drill may be given in chorus (to the whole class), to groups of students, to individuals.
4. Before starting any drill, the teacher must give instructions to the students about the drill by giving examples of the changes which he wishes the students to make.
5. There should be variety both in the patterns drilled and in the types of drills used.
6. Charles C. Fries says that about 85 per cent of class time should be spent on drilling while the remaining 15 per cent devoted to reading and writing, explanation and instruction.
7. While the students are engaged in drill work, the teacher should note the pronunciation mistakes of the pupils. These mistakes should be immediately corrected.