Total Physical Response (TPR) Method - Teacher's Zone

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Total Physical Response (TPR) Method

by Anna Sawa

TPR Method

'The first step in learning another language is to internalize the code in the same way you assimilated your native language, which was through commands.’
[James Asher]

TPR is a language teaching method created by James Asher in 60’s that use physical movement to react to verbal teacher’s commands. It is one of the variety ways of teaching young learners, because children naturally delight in movement. TPR method requires instant reactions to the language without thinking too much, what reduce students’ stress and a language barrier. Some significant TPR method features are:

From comprehension to production

TPR is modeled on the natural process of language learning by children. Asher claims that demonstration of the comprehension by physical reactions goes before children can produce utterances. Just as in parent-child interactions that are based on imperatives given by the adult and executed by the child.

Stress reduction

Students are not forced to repeat commands what reduce pressure and stress. Young learners understand what is expected from them resulting in increasing self-esteem and reducing a language barrier. What is important, limited number of new lexical items should be introduced to avoid students’ confusion and overload.

Right and left brain learning

Most learning activities at the classroom are aimed to the left brain which is used during discussing, analyzing, solving logical problems, etc. The information is kept in short term memory and soon forgotten. In TPR method when language is learnt through movement and acting it is remembered long term – both the right and left brain is used then.

Young learners enjoy this method due to a lot of movement and fun during TPR practise. This method does well in both small and big groups. It can be successfully used in mixed-ability classes.


References:
- Asher, J. 1977 Learning Another Language Through Action: The Complete Teacher’s Guide Book, Sky Oaks Productions, Inc.
- Dakowska, M.2005 Teaching English as a Foreign Language: A Guide for Professionals, Warsaw: PWN
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