The Advantages & Disadvantages of Practice & Drills in Teaching

Teachers should create an engaging environment through various teaching styles.

Drilling and practice is an effective way for students to learn. Drills refer to the repetitive practice of different skills. For example, a drill in language can entail having students write a list of words or equations repeatedly or using flashcards. Teachers can use drilling as a way to help students solidify newly learned skills. However, if they rely on drills heavily, students may only be learning things in order to get to the next step and not gaining a full understanding of the material.

1 Advantage: Provides Basic Skills for Students

Practice and drills give students an opportunity to learn certain concepts quickly and effectively. Teaching students through various methods such as flashcards or repetitive rewriting can help them use these skills in different environments and many different ways. Teaching it in different ways can accommodate students who have various learning styles. For example, some students who learn visually may benefit from rewriting a misspelled word in order to retain the correct spelling. Using various drills for various learning styles can help students integrate various tactics for remembering skills.

2 Advantage: Allow Students to Build on Mastered Skills

Students can now learn higher level skills while accessing mastered skills quickly and effectively. For example, students learning alegbra need to have mastered the basic skills of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. Drills and practice can help these skills become second nature.

3 Disadvantage: Hard for Students to Focus When Done Too Often

Students who only learn through drills may get distracted and bored with practice drills, especially if they have already mastered the skills. After every student demonstrates knowledge concerning the subject, the drills and practice exercises should be used occasionally to maintain proficiency.

4 Disadvantage: Students May Not Truly Be Learning

Students may be relying on just remembering in order to take a test, but are not really understanding the material properly. If the learning becomes too predictable, students may not gain clear knowledge about the skills they are supposed to master. They may just be memorizing the material and that can cause problems for them later on when trying to accomplish more complex tasks and learn more advanced lessons.

Vanessa Lewis has received a B.A in psychology and creative writing from the University of California, Riverside. She currently works as a child care provider and previously worked as a teacher with children that have developmental disabilities. Lewis has written for her high-school paper and U.C. Riverside's "The Highlander" newspaper for two years.