An ELT Glossary : Backchaining


A method of conducting choral repetition drills by chunking the utterance and asking students to start from the end rather than the beginning, adding on earlier chunks one at a time.  For example :

T  :  OK, I went to the supermarket on Saturday morning. Everybody, listen and repeat - 
       morning
Ss :  Morning.
T  :  On Saturday morning.
Ss :  On Saturday morning
T  :  To the supermarket on Saturday morning.
Ss :  To the supermarket on Saturday morning.
T  :  I went to the supermarket on Saturday morning.
Ss :  I went to the supermarket on Saturday morning

This has two advantages :

a) chunking makes the repetition easier for the students - they can concentrate on small numbers of words before going on to the longer utterance.
b) starting from the end allow T and Ss to keep the intonation of the phrase constant. This is lost if the utterance is frontchained.