1Total Physical Response & TPR Storytelling Lisa VenableTESOL METHODS IPortland State UniversityFebruary 10, 2010
2La Gallinita Roja (The Little Red Hen) Érase una vez una gallinita roja que encontró un grano de trigo.-¿Quién plantará este trigo? -preguntó.-Yo no -dijo el perro. -Yo no -dijo el gato. -Yo no -dijo el cerdo. -Yo no -dijo el pavo.-Entonces lo haré yo -dijo la gallinita roja-.
3Érase una vez... (There once was...) ...una gallinita roja que encontró un grano de trigo.(...a little red hen thatfound a grain of wheat.)
4(“Who will plant this wheat?” she asked.) “¿Quién plantará este trigo?” preguntó.(“Who will plant this wheat?” she asked.)
9said the little red hen.) “Entonces lo haré yo,”dijo la gallinita roja.(“Then I will do it,”said the little red hen.)
10Con tiempo, agua, y sol, creció el trigo Con tiempo, agua, y sol, creció el trigo. (With time, water, and sun, the wheat grew.)“¿Quién segará este trigo?” preguntó.(“Who will harvest this wheat?” she asked.)
18(“No. I am going to eat it,” “No. YO lo voy a comer,”dijo la gallinita roja.(“No. I am going to eat it,”said the little red hen.)
19TPR and TPR-S Total Physical Response (TPR) Physical movement to respond to verbal inputNo verbal response required until students are readyTotal Physical Response Storytelling (TPRS)Uses vocabulary from TPRStudents listen to and watch stories, act them out, revise and retellTPR (total physical response) is a method of teaching language using physical movement to react to verbal input in order to reduce student inhibitions and lower their affective filter. It allows students to react to language without thinking too much, facilitates long term retention, and reduces student anxiety and stress. In order to implement TPR effectively, it is necessary to plan regular sessions that progress in a logical order, and to keep several principles in mind.James J. Asher defines the Total Physical Response (TPR) method as one that combines information and skills through the use of the kinesthetic sensory system. 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. The basic tenets are:Understanding the spoken language before developing the skills of speaking. Imperatives are the main structures to transfer or communicate information. The student is not forced to speak, but is allowed an individual readiness period and allowed to spontaneously begin to speak when the student feels comfortable and confident in understanding and producing the utterances.
20History and Theoretical Background TPR -- AsherTPR-S -- Blaine RayChildhood / first language acquisition theoriesThe right brain / left brain divideKrashen -- comprehensible input,affective filterVygotsky -- scaffoldingCummins Interactive Pedagogy Principle● Childhood language acquisition theoriesChildren are exposed to huge amounts of language input before speaking. Languagelearners can also benefit from following this “natural” progression fromcomprehension to production, instead of the more normal situation where learnersare asked to produce instantly. Associated with first language acquisition theories (similarities to the way young children respond physically to parental commands)● The right brain/left brain divideThe left brain can be described as logical, one-track, and cynical. It is used whenanalyzing, talking, discussing, etc. Most classroom activities in Japan are aimed atthe left brain. The right brain is used when moving, acting, using metaphor, drawing,pointing, etc. It is targeted by sports and extra-curricular activities in Japaneseschools.Right brain/left brain divide (right brain used for motor activities, left brain used to watch and learn)When language is taught by lecturing or explaining, the cynical left brain is targetedand the information is kept in short term memory (if at all). It is soon forgotten as itnever becomes “real” to the student.When language is taught actively through movement, the right brain “believes” theinformation and retains it, in the same way that skills such as swimming or riding abicycle are remembered long term.● Lowering stress and the affective filterStudents learn more when they are relaxed. This is because the affective filter, amental barrier between the students and the information, is raised when students arenervous or uncomfortable. When the affective filter is high, learners find it harder tounderstand, process, and remember information.TPR helps reduce the affective filter because it is less threatening than traditionallanguage activities. Students do not have to produce language. Mistakes areunimportant and easily (and painlessly) corrected by the teacher. Language isremembered easily and long-term.Lowers the affective filter (also Krashen) by allowing students to respond to language without producing the language themselvesBased on listening (listening comprehension comes before speech)Believed to enhance memory and reinforce comprehension through physical movementTeacher gives “comprehensible input” (an important construct from Krashen’s theory)Vigotsky Scaffolding is changing the level of support. Over the course of a teaching session, a more-skilled person adjusts the amount of guidance to fit the child’s current performance. Also based on Cummin’s 1989 Interactive Pedagogy Principle (students are actively participating way before they can verbalize)The basics of TPR lie in the belief that the process of acquiring any foreign language should follow the pattern of native language acquisition, in which a learner spend much time learning to decode the messages heard and seen before actually reproducing the language itself.The theoretical foundation of this approach relies on certain principles: • Second language learns in the same ways as the first language is learnt; • Students should develop listening skills first, and speaking skills afterwards; • The child’s response to spoken language is usually physical, so adult learners should do that as well when learning a foreign language; • After the listening comprehension skills are developed, speech develops without much effort from the speaker; • In the process of learning, adults use right-brain motor activities, while the left hemisphere is left to watch and learn; • Postponing the speech learning reduces stress.In terms of the theoretical basis of the approach, the idea of listening preceding production and learners only being required to speak when they are ready to do so closely resembles elements of Stephen Krashen’s Natural Approach.
23Advantages of TPR Easy to implement and no translation is needed Minimal prepAny ageLess stress for studentsInterestEffective inputPerfect for team teaching● Easy to implement/no translationTPR instruction requires no translation or L1 support. It can help students andteachers make the transition to an English language environment.● New playing field: no disadvantage for academically weaker studentsTPR does not depend on left-brain, “academic” skills. This gives all students a chanceto shine in a new environment.● Trains students to react to language and not think about it too muchTPR requires an instant reaction. As there is no time to think during TPR practice,students can break the bad habit of over-analyzing language and become morecomfortable with “going with the flow”, or guessing from context.● Reduces pressure and stress for studentsTPR does not require a spoken response from students. Also, if implemented properly,students always understand what is happening during TPR practice, resulting inincreased confidence and a lowering of the affective filter. (don’t have to verbalize the language until they are ready)● Different style of teaching/learningTPR can be a break for both students and teachers, a refreshingly different style ofteaching. Judiciously used, it can break up a lesson or day and keep students alert. (students enjoy moving around the classroom during the lesson)● Long-term retention/“magic” effectTPR results in long-term retention of language items, and the constant repetition andrecycling involved reinforces this leading to a “magic” learning experience.● Repetition is disguised: more effective inputSkillful use of TPR allows us to drill language targets repeatedly without losingstudent interest. (long-term retention enhanced, repetition disguised)● Addresses important weakness of Japanese studentsJapanese students, due to teaching methods and their school environment, havetended to be strong at reading and writing English, and weak at listening andspeaking. TPR addresses this by working on students' aural comprehension, at thesame time as forcing them to be active listeners.● Perfect for TTTPR is perfect for team-teaching classes, as with two teachers one can serve as themodel while the other calls out commands.● Hard to showResults come from regular, planned application. One shot lessons, while perhapsinteresting or diverting, do not yield the same results as a carefully thought out seriesof lessons.Perfect for team teaching (teachers help each other demonstrate)
24Disadvantages Not ideal for more advanced learners or shy students Use of the imperative may lead learners to use inappropriate or rude language in the futureLargely teacher-directed without attention to individual interestsThe above examples, however, also illustrate some of the potential weaknesses inherent in the approach. Firstly, from a purely practical point of view, it is highly unlikely that even the most skilled and inventive teacher could sustain a lesson stage involving commands and physical responses for more than a few minutes before the activity became repetitious for the learners, although the use of situational role-play could provide a range of contexts for practising a wider range of lexis. Secondly, it is fairly difficult to give instructions without using imperatives, so the language input is basically restricted to this single form. Thirdly, it is quite difficult to see how this approach could extend beyond beginner level. Fourthly, the relevance of some of the language used in TPR activities to real-world learner needs is questionable. Finally, moving from the listening and responding stage to oral production might be workable in a small group of learners but it would appear to be problematic when applied to a class of 30 students, for example.In defence of the approach, however, it should be emphasized that it was never intended by its early proponents that it should extend beyond beginner level. (In theory it might be possible to develop it by making the instructions lexically more complex (for example, "Pick up the toothpaste and unscrew the cap"), but this does seem to be stretching the point somewhat). In addition, a course designed around TPR principles would not be expected to follow a TPR syllabus exclusively, and Asher himself suggested that TPR should be used in association with other methods and techniques.