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Total Physical Response

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Ewa Szancer

on 23 October 2012

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Transcript of Total Physical Response

James Asher Background Total Physical Response (TPR) is a language teaching method built around the coordination of speech and action; it attempts to teach language through physical (motor) activity. Developed by James Asher professor of psychology at San Jose State University, California, it draws on several traditions, including developmental psychology, learning theory, and humanistic pedagogy, as well as on language teaching procedures proposed by Harold and Dorothy Palmer in 1925 Approach Design Objectives
The general objectives of Total Physical Response are
- Teaching oral proficiency at a beginning level
-Using comprehension as a means to speaking
-Using action-based drills in the imperative form


The syllabus

-TPR uses a sentence-based grammatical syllabus with grammatical and lexical criteria being primary in selecting teaching items
-requires initial attention to meaning rather than to the form of items.
-Grammar is taught inductively. Gram­matical features and vocabulary items are selected according to the situations in which they can be used in the classroom and the ease with which they can be learned. THE BIO-PROGRAM (a)Children develop listening competence before they develop the ability to speak.
(b) Children's ability in listening comprehension is acquired because children are required to respond physically to spoken language in the form of parental commands,
(c) Once a foundation in listening comprehension has been established, speech evolves naturally and effortlessly out of it. BRAIN LATERALIZATION Asher sees Total Physical Response as directed to right-brain learning, whereas most second language teaching methods are directed to left-brain learning.


-right-hemisphere activities must occur before the left hemisphere can process language for production.
- the adult should proceed to language mastery through right-hemisphere motor activities, while the left hemisphere watches and learns.

-When a sufficient amount of right-hemisphere learning has taken place, the left hemisphere will be triggered to produce language and to initiate other, more abstract language processes. REDUCTION OF STRESS
- First language acquisition takes place in a stress-free environ­ment,
-The key to stress-free learning is to tap into the natural bio-program for language development and thus to recapture the relaxed and pleasurable experiences that ac­company first language learning.
- the learner is said to be liberated from self-conscious and stressful situations and is able to devote full energy to learning. Asher sees successful adult second language learning as a parallel process to child first language acquisition. He claims that:
-speech directed to young children consists primarily of commands, which children respond to physically before they begin to produce verbal responses.
- adults should repeat the processes by which children acquire their mother tongue.
Types of learning and teaching activities

Command drills are the major classroom activity in Total Physical Re­sponse.
They are typically used to elicit physical actions and activity on the part of the learners
-conversational dialogues are delay il after about 120 hours of instruction
-role plays and slide presentations. Role plays center on everyday situations, such as at the restaurant, supermarket, or gas station.
-reading and writing activities may also be employed to further consolidate structures and vocabulary, and as follow-ups to oral imperative drills.
-The slide presentations are used to provide a visual center for teacher narration, which is followed by commands, and for questions to students, such as "Which person in the picture is the salesperson?"
-Learners in Total Physical Response have the primary roles of listener and performer.Students 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:
-plays an active and direct role in Total Physical Response. "The instructor is the director of a stage play in which the students are the actors".
-decides what to teach, who models and presents the new materials, and who selects supporting materials for classroom use.
is well prepared and well organized so that the lesson flows smoothly and predictably.
-Classroom interaction and turn taking is teacher rather than learner directed.
-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.
Learning theory is based on three rather influential learning hypotheses :

1. There exists a specific innate bio-program for language learning, which defines an optimal path for first and second language development

2. Brain lateralization defines different learning functions in the left- and right-brain hemispheres.

3. Stress (an affective filter) intervenes between the act of learning and what is to be learned; the lower the stress, the greater the learning.











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-abstractions should be delayed until students have internalizedetailed cognitive map of the target language

-abstractions are not necessary for people to decode the grammatical structure of a language
-language can be internalized as wholes or chunks, rather than as single lexical items, Theory of language Theory of learning Learners roles Teacher roles the brain is divided into hemispheres according to function, with language activities cen­tralized in the right hemisphere Asher sees first and second language learning as parallel processes. Second language teaching and learning should reflect the na­turalistic processes of first language learning. Asher sees three processes as central: -Grammatical structurs and vocabulary are emphasized over other language areas and can be learned from the skillful use of the imperative by the instructor
-the imperatives are single words and multi-word chunks
-one reason for the use of imperatives is their frequency of occuracnce in the speach in the speach
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