Total Physical Response


Why should I use The Total Physical Response for English Language Teachingin the classroom?


TPR is an English Language Teaching approach, built on listening linked with physical activities which are planned to strengthen comprehension of the target language. It is a second language teaching or vocabulary concepts method built around the coordination of speech and action by using physical movement to react to verbal input. The procedure of imitation like mimics the way that infants learn their mother language and it reduces student’s inhibitions and lower stress.
The method we will consider now is an example of a new general approach to Second language Acquisition instruction which has been named “the comprehension approach”. Methods consistent with the comprehension approach on the other hand, begin with the listening skill.
The idea of focusing on listening comprehension during early target language instruction comes from observing how children acquire their mother language. An infant spends several months listening to the people, those live around it long before it ever says a word. The baby has the time to try to make sense out of the sounds it hears during this interaction with its peers group. . There is No one who tells the baby that it must speak any required words. The child chooses to speak itself whenever it is ready to imitate the sounds or action. .
There are several methods implemented today that make a joint effort to apply these observations to target language teaching. What pedagogical experts suggest is that doing something at the first hearing can vary from one method to another. For example, in Krashen and Terrell’s The Natural Approach (1983), students listen to the teacher, communicatively use the target language from the beginning of the instruction, and communicative activities occur throughout the course. Teachers help their students understand this by using pictures and occasional words in their native language and remain as expressive as possible. The Natural Approach is similar to the Direct Method in many ways. However, one of the different ways is to let students use their mother tongue along with the target language when responding to the teacher. This allows them to concentrate on understanding what they are listening to. Teachers do not correct students’ mistakes during oral communication.
The meaning of the statement is understood from the context provided by the picture. Stories depicted with pictures are also used as a tool to express abstract meanings. In the Total Physical Response Method, students listen to and respond to their teacher’s spoken target language instructions.
The learning theory underlying Total Physical Response (TPR) basically comes from three effective learning hypotheses:


1.  There is a specially brought bio program for language learning.

2.  Liberalization of the brain describes various learning functions in the left and right hemispheres of the brain.

3.   Stress (effective filter) disrupts between learning actions and what to learn: the lower the stress, the greater the learning.

1. Bio program:

Asher, the founder of the TPR method, sees first and second language learning as a parallel process and three processes that consider h central:Before children develop their speaking skills, they develop their listening skills. During this listening period, students may make mental blueprints of the language which in turn makes it possible to produce spoken language.

The ability to understand what children hear is acquired because children must physically respond to spoken language in the form of parental commands.

Once the platform is built on listening comprehension, speech develops naturally and easily from it.

2. Brain background

Although Asher sees Total Physical Response for right brain learning, most second language teaching methods are directed for left brain learning. Based on the work of Jean Piaget, Asher argues that language learners acquire language through motor movement – proper hemisphere activity. Language activity is centered in the right hemisphere. Right hemisphere activity must be performed before the left hemisphere processes the tongue to produce it.

3. Reducing Stress

A significant condition for successful second language learning is to free the learner from Stress. According to Asher, first language acquisition occurs in a stress-free environment, while an adult language environment often causes stress and anxiety. Therefore, the teacher’s job is to free the student from conscious and depressed situations so that he can concentrate his energy to learn.

And this can be achieved by focusing on the meaning interpreted through the movement of abstractly studied forms of language. Consequently, grammar is taught inductively in TPR`s classroom.

Learning / teaching activities:

Mandatory training is the main class activity at TPR. It is usually used by students to reveal physical actions and activities. Other class activities include role-playing such as in restaurants, supermarkets, or train track inquiry counters.

The Role of Students / Teachers: 

Students in the TPR have a key role as listeners and actors. They listen attentively and physically to the instructions given by the teacher, they do not much influence the content of student learning, because the content is determined by the teacher according to the compulsory format based on reason.

Teacher plays an active & direct role in TPR. 

Teachers are directors of stage games where students are actors.  

The role of teacher is not to teach much but to provide learning opportunities. 

Teachers have a responsibility to provide the best exposure to the language so that students can internalize the basic rules of the target language. therefore, teachers check the language input received by students.

Teacher Materials and Procedures:
Teacher Materials and Procedures: Usually there is no basic text in the TPR course. 
Pictures, realia, slides and word charts play an important role.
Asher (1977) provides an explanation based on lectures on courses taught according to TPR principles. 
Some important requirements in this course are:

 Jaffer, throw the white flower to Nadia.

Shamim, pick up the knife soon and put them in the cup.

Ahmad, take a drink of water and give the cup to Shamim.

Toothbrush……. Take out your toothbrush

                             Brush your teeth

                             Put your toothbrush in your book

Towel ……         put the towel on Hammad`s arm

                         Ahmad, put the towel on your head and laugh

                          Shamim wipe your hands on the towel. 

Sum up

 TPR has enjoyed some popularity because of its support by those who emphasis the role of comprehension in second language acquisition.

Comprehensible input and reduction of stress in use the Total Physical Response for English Language Teaching in the classroom as keys to successful language acquisition.

Performing physical actions in target language as a means of making input comprehensive and minimizing stress.

One serious limitations of the TPR method is that it topically deals with only the very beginning stage of learning. 

It is so much fun, students enjoys it and it can be a real mixer in the classroom. 

This raises speed and mood.

It is very unforgettable.

This is very helpful for students to remember sentences or words. 

It is good for kinesthetic students who need to be active in the classroom.

The Total Physical Response method for English Language Teaching/learning can be used in large or small classes.

No matter how many students you have as long as you are willing to lead, students will follow.

It works well with mixed skill classes.

Rea; and effective corporal action fulfills the meaning of language learning, so that all students can understand and use the target language.

It doesn`t require much preparation or ingredients.

As long as you are clear about what you want to do (per-workout training can help), there is not much time to complete.

It is very effective for teenagers and young students.

It include left and right brain learning.


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