If you’re looking for some fun and interactive ESL drill activities and games, you’re in the right place. Keep on reading for all the TEFL drilling ideas to level up your lessons. Let’s get to it!
ESL Drill Activities and Games
Let’s get into the best ESL drilling games and activities to try out.
#1: The Memory Circle Game
An ESL drill activity that I like to use for things like the past tense, vocabulary around a certain topic, or future plans is this one. Have a look here:
#2: Ball Toss ESL Drill Activity
If you want to drill things like questions and answers, this is the ultimate activity! It’s fun, ideal for review, and can be used with a variety of topics. Learn more about it here:
Dictation is kind of an old-school TEFL activity, but it does have a lot of value if you want to drill some vocabulary or grammatical structures with students. There are a few different ways to do it. Have a look here for my ideas:
#4: Mixed Up Sentences ESL Drill Activity
A nice way to drill new sentence structures is to use this simple activity. Students have to unscramble sentences to make a correct one. Try it out:
#5: SOS Game
An excellent way to drill questions and answers for simple concepts is to use a fun game like this one:
#6: Word Challenge
A nice way to drill spelling is to play this game. Try it out:
#7: ESL Board Games
Using board games is an excellent ESL drill activity for things like problem/advice or questions/answers. Find out how I make my own games for my students:
#8: Role Plays
A nice way to reinforce just about any concept or vocabulary is to use a role play. They can be used to drill certain grammatical structures, in that every role play can feature that language. Have a look here for more ideas about how I use them in class:
#9: Use the Audio Lingual Method
The audio lingual method is ALL about drilling. The proponents of this method see language acquisition as habit formation. Find out more:
#10: Line Up
A way to drill simple things like birthdays and numbers is to use this simple drill activity. Try it out:
#11: Error Correction Relay Race
A nice way to drill some basic concepts is to have students do this relay race that focuses on error correction. It’s nice because it takes something old (error correction) and turns it into this fun thing. Have a look:
#12: Fly Swat Game
A fun way to drill things like adjective/noun combos, collocations, or compound words is to play this flyswatter game. It’s the ultimate way to create some excitement in the classroom. Have a look here:
#13: Is that Sentence Correct
A nice way to drill something by way of review is to do this activity. Students have to decide if a sentence is correct, or not. If it’s incorrect, they have to make the required changes. Check it out here:
#14: The Hot Potato ESL Drill Game
An ESL drill game to try out is Hot Potato. It’s ideal for drilling questions and answers:
#15: Drill Together, Then Alone
I like to drill things like pronunciation or collocations by saying the word, phrase, or sentence and then have students repeat after me. I do this a few times until students are able to do it perfectly.
#16: Disappearing Sentence
Try out this easy review activity to drill sentence structure, pronunciation, or new vocabulary. Write a sentences on the whiteboard. Students say the entire sentence. Then, the teacher erases a word or two and students have to say the entire thing again (including the missing words). Continue until all the words are gone.
#17: More Ideas for Teaching Vocabulary
It’s possible to drill both vocabulary and grammar when teaching a language. Here are even more ideas for helping students remember new words:
#18: Vocabulary Auction
A nice way to drill correct sentence structure is with this exciting game:
#19: Sentence Structure Games and Activities
Time spent helping students build better English sentences is never wasted time! There are lots of good ideas for doing this, along with even more ideas for drilling exercises.
#20: The Drill Chain
The teacher begins with a question and then it continues on from student to student. For example:
T: What color is your sweater?
S1: My sweater is blue. What color are your pants?
S2: My pants are black. What color are your glasses?
And so on it goes.
#21: Change It
This simple ESL drill activity is perfect for things like verb tenses. The teacher says a statement (I eat pizza) and students have to change it to the target language. In this case, the past tense (I ate pizza).
#22: Dialogue Substitution
#23: Word Chain
Students form a circle, and one person says a word. The next person must say a word that starts with the last letter of the previous word. Example: Cat -> Table -> Elephant.
#24: Simon Says ESL Drill Game
The teacher gives commands starting with “Simon says…” and students must follow only if the command is preceded by “Simon says.” Example: “Simon says touch your nose.”
#25: Board Race
Divide the class into teams. Write a category on the board (e.g., animals, colors, verbs), and each team must race to write as many words as they can in that category within a time limit.
#26: Running Dictation
ESL Drill Activities FAQs
There are a number of common questions that people have about ESL drill activities and games. Here are the answers to some fo the most popular ones.
Why use drill activities in ESL teaching?
Drill activities help reinforce language skills, improve fluency, and provide repetitive practice for better retention.
What’s the benefit of incorporating games into ESL drills?
Games make learning fun and engaging, motivating students to actively participate and enhancing their language acquisition.
How can I adapt drill activities for different proficiency levels?
Modify the complexity of vocabulary and grammar used in drills based on the students’ proficiency, ensuring activities are challenging but not overwhelming.
Are ESL drill activities suitable for all age groups?
Yes, drill activities can be adapted for different age groups by adjusting the content, themes, and level of competitiveness to match the students’ interests and developmental stages.
How do I maintain student interest during ESL drill activities?
Keep activities dynamic by incorporating variety, such as changing the format of drills, introducing new themes, and using multimedia resources to appeal to diverse learning styles.
Can I use ESL drills for speaking and listening practice?
Absolutely. Many drill activities focus on speaking and listening skills, helping students improve pronunciation, sentence structure, and overall communication abilities.
How often should I incorporate drill activities into my ESL lessons?
Balance is key. Integrate drill activities regularly to reinforce learning, but vary the types of activities to maintain student interest and prevent monotony.
What role do drill activities play in building confidence among ESL learners?
Regular practice through drill activities boosts students’ confidence by providing a supportive environment for language experimentation and improvement.
How can I encourage peer collaboration during ESL drill games?
Design activities that require teamwork or pair work, fostering collaboration and providing opportunities for students to learn from each other.
Can I use technology in ESL drill activities?
Yes, technology can enhance drill activities. Use language learning apps, online quizzes, or interactive whiteboards to create engaging and interactive learning experiences.
More Ideas for English Teachers
- Amazon Kindle Edition
- Bolen, Jackie (Author)
- English (Publication Language)
- 171 Pages - 10/12/2023 (Publication Date)
If you want even more ideas to level up your teaching, you’ll need to check out this book: Teaching ESL For Dummies. There are hundreds of tips and tricks for new and experienced teachers to make an English classroom better.
Check out the book today, and get ready for better classes tomorrow:
Drilling Games: Join the Conversation
Do you have any ESL drill activities or games that you’d like us to add to the list? Leave a comment and let us know. We’d love to hear from you.
Last update on 2022-07-17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API