Total physical response (tpr)

НазваTotal physical response (tpr)
Дата конвертації26.09.2014
Розмір9.43 Kb.


  • It´s fun.

  • It’s memorable, easily to remind for the students.

  • It is good for kinesthetic learners who need to be active in the class.

  • It can be used in large or small classes.

  • It works well with mixed-ability classes. The physical actions get across the meaning effectively so that all the students are able to understand and use the target language.

  • It is very effective with teenagers and young learners.

  • It involves both left and right-brained learn


  • It is only really suitable for beginner levels. Whilst it is clear that it is far more useful at lower levels because the target language lends itself to such activities.

  • You can't teach everything with it and if used a lot it would become repetitive.

  • Whilst it can be used at higher levels TPR is most useful for beginners. It is also at the higher levels where preparation becomes an issue for the teacher.

  • Students are not generally given the opportunity to express their own thoughts in a creative way.

  • It is easy to overuse TPR. "Any novelty, if carried on too long, will trigger adaptation." Asher writes, "No matter how exciting and productive the innovation, people will tire of it."

  • The teacher may find that it is limited in terms of language scope. Certain target languages may not be suited to this method.

  • It can be a challenge for shy students.


  •  Second language learning is parallel to first language learning and should reflect the same naturalistic processes.

  • Listening should develop before speaking.

  •   Children respond physically to spoken language, and adult learners learn better if they do that too.

  •   Once listening comprehension has been developed, speech develops naturally and effortlessly out of it.

  •   Adults should use right-brain motor activities, while the left hemisphere watches and learns.

  • Delaying speech reduces stress.

TPR can be used to teach many things:

  •  Vocabulary connected with actions (point, dressing, smile).     

  • Imperatives/Instructions (Sit down, claps your hands)

  • Tenses past/present/future and continuous aspects (Every day I breakfast with my brother)

  • Classroom language (Open your books on page twenty)

  • Story-telling

This method is flexible and we can adapt it to different situations and contents.

In the classroom the teacher plays the role of parent. She starts by saying a word ('jump') or a phrase ('look at the board') and demonstrating an action. The teacher then says the command and the students all do the action. After repeating a few times it is possible to extend this by asking the students to repeat the word as they do the action. When they feel confident with the word or phrase you can then ask the students to direct each other or the whole class.

It is more effective if the students are standing in a circle around the teacher and you can even encourage them to walk around as they do the action.


Learners in Total Physical Response have the primary roles of listener and performer. They listen attentively and respond physically to commands given by the teacher. Learners are required to respond both individually and collectively. Learners have little influence over the content of learning, since content is determined by the teacher, who must follow the imperative-based format for lessons. Learners are also expected to recognize and respond to novel combinations of previously taught items

Learners are also required to produce novel combinations of their own. Learners monitor and evaluate their own progress. They are encouraged to speak when they feel ready to speak - that is, when a sufficient basis in the language has been internalized.


  The teacher plays an active and direct role in Total Physical Response. It is the teacher who decides what to teach, who models and presents the new materials, and who selects supporting materials for classroom use. The teacher is encouraged to be well prepared and well organized so that the lesson flows smoothly and predictably. Asher recommends detailed lesson plans: “It is wise to write out the exact utterances you will be using and especially the novel commands because the action is so fast-moving there is usually not time for you to create spontaneously". Classroom interaction and turn taking is teacher rather than learner directed. Even when learners interact with other learners it is usually the teacher who initiates the interaction.

Asher stresses, however, that the teacher's role is not so much to teach as to provide opportunities for learning. The teacher has the responsibility of providing the best kind of exposure to language so that the learner can internalize the basic rules of the target language. Thus the teacher controls the language input the learners receive, providing the raw material for the "cognitive map" that the learners will construct in their own minds. The teacher should also allow speaking abilities to develop in learners at the learners' own natural pace. 

Teachers should refrain from too much correction in the early stages and should not interrupt to correct errors, since this will inhibit learners. As time goes on, however, more teacher intervention is expected, as the learners' speech becomes "fine tuned."


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