THE TOTAL PHYSICAL RESPONSE METHOD (TPR)
1.Learning Theory: There are three hypothesis:
A) Innate Bio-program: There exists a specific, innate bio-program for language learning,
which defines an optimal path for first and second language development. Children develop
listening competence before they develop the ability to speak. They make “a blue-print” of
the language first. They develop “a cognitive map” of the language during listening process.
B) Brain Lateralisation: The brain has two main parts: left hemisphere, and right hemisphere
, which have different learning functions. If both hemispheres are activated, learning is more
C) Stress (an affective filter): Stress intervenes between the act of learning and what is to be
The lower the stress is, the greater the learning becomes.
2.Language Theory: Language is primarily oral. It is just like the acquisition of native language. Learners first listen (silent period), then oral production starts. Oral communication is crucial. Skilful use of imperatives by the instructor can be helpful for the acquisition of many vocabulary items and grammatical structures. Asher views the verb and particularly the verb in the imperative as the central linguistic motif around which language use and learning are organised
3.Culture: Culture is the lifestyle of people who speak the language natively. Daily habits, social life traditions should be learned
4.Teachers’ Role: Initially the teacher is the director of all student behaviour. In the later stages, the teacher is being directed.
5.Students’ Role: Initially students are the followers of the teacher. Usually after ten to twenty hours, of instruction some students will be ready to speak the language. At this point they start to direct the teacher
6.Interactions: T with whole group, T- respond by students non-verbally; Sts – Sts; St – st
7.Vocabulary Teaching: Vocabulary is introduced through imperatives. Verb is the kernel. Other categories like adjective, adverb, and noun can be introduced around verb. Objects, especially the objects in the immediate environment are introduced
8.Grammar Teaching: Imperatives play an important role. Multi-word chunks, single-word chunks are used with imperatives. The teacher uses his/her creativity to introduce various grammatical patterns with the accompaniment of imperatives.
E.g. For the introduction of “If ” clause type 1
“Stand up if you are from Ankara”
“Smile if you are wearing a blue T-shirt
9.Materials: Objects around in the classroom, visuals, written texts, tasks for kinaesthetic learning can be used
10.Syllabus: Sentence based syllabus with grammatical and lexical criteria is used. TPR
requires initial attention to meaning rather than to the forms of item.
11.Role of L1: The method is introduced in the students’ L1. After the introduction, rarely would
the mother tongue be used. Meaning is made through body movements
12.Evaluation: Teachers will know immediately whether or not students understand by observing heir students’ actions. Formal evaluations can be conducted simply by commanding individual students to perform a series of actions. As students become more advanced, their Performance in the skits they have created can become the basis for evaluation
13.Goals and Objectives: To make students enjoy learning the target language and communicate with it. Stress should be reduced
14.Error Correction: Errors are inevitable. The teacher should be tolerant of students’ errors; only major errors should be corrected. The teacher should be gentle when correcting students’ errors. As students get more advanced, teachers can correct more minor errors
15.Student’s Feelings: The teacher should not force the students to speak. Silent period must be taken into consideration. When they begin to speak, perfection is not necessary. Stress should be reduced. The teacher should use “zany commands” and humorous skits of actions to make classes more enjoyable
A) Commands:Use of commands is the major technique. Commands are given to students toperform an action; actions make meaning clear.
B) Role reversal: Students command their teacher and classmates to perform actions.
Students speak after the silent period. Students should not be forced before they feel ready.
C) Action sequence: The teacher may give three connected commands (e.g. “Point to the door,
walk to the door, and touch the door”)
17. Skills: Natural order of skills:
- Listening (Very important during the silent period)
- Speaking (teacher should not force sts to produce the language especially during the silent
period sts are expected to produce the target language voluntarily)