Total Physical Response in TEFL

Total Physical Response (TPR) is a teaching method based on the idea that a new language can be learned through actions and that movement can help students learn and understand. It was first developed by James J. Asher‏‎ over 30 years ago.

We all have preferences for the sensory system we rely on to process information. Some people prefer the visual system. Others prefer the auditory system. Others still prefer the kinesthetic system and TPR is particularly relevant to these kinesthetic learners who learn best when they can participate in an activity.

It is a method that combines information and skills through the use of the movement and action. This combination of skills allows the student to assimilate information and skills at a rapid rate. As a result, this success leads to a high degree of motivation.

TPR is based on the principle that we can understand the spoken language before we develop our speaking skills. With TPR the student is not forced to speak but is allowed an individual readiness period and allowed to spontaneously begin to speak when they feel comfortable and confident in understanding and producing the utterance.

Basic TPR Technique

The teacher introduces the language through the use of commands (imperative sentences) and has students demonstrate their understanding through action responses. A typical sequence of events might go like this:

  1. The teacher says the command (sit down; turn the page; get your pen out; etc.) as they perform the action.
  2. The teacher says the command as both the teacher and the students then perform the action.
  3. The teacher says the command but only students perform the action.
  4. The teacher tells one student at a time to perform the action.
  5. The roles of teacher and student are reversed. Students give commands to teacher and to other students.
  6. The teacher and student allow for command expansion or produces new sentences.

While the initial instructions are simple within a few minutes directions can be expanded in complexity such as:

Sit down.

Take your exercise book out.

Open the book on page 11.

John, please sit next to Mary.

Mary share your book with John, please.

And so on. As the training advances, past tenses, future‏‎ tenses, and essentially all the elements of the target language‏‎ can be woven into these commands.

Did you know that if you subscribe to our website, you will receive email notifications whenever content changes or new content is added.
1. Enter your e-mail address below and click the Sign Me Up button.
2. You will receive an email asking you to confirm your intention of subscribing to our site.
3. Click the link in the email to confirm. That’s all there is to it! [jetpack_subscription_form title="" subscribe_text="Enter your email address below to subscribe to IWeb TEFL." subscribe_button="Sign Me Up"] Note: if you wish to unsubscribe from our site, click the unsubscribe link at the bottom of the email you received.
Then indicate you no longer wish to receive our emails.

Thank You
IWeb TEFL Team

Posted in How To Teach English.

Leave a Reply