The use of Total Physical Response techniques in teaching English language school


Investigation of the main reasons English language jelly. Characteristics of the expansion content Total Physical Response; consideration of the basic pedagogical principles of its use in teaching language inostannomu junior and senior school age.

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1. Students' motivation and interests in learning English enhanced through TPR

1.1 The Basic Concept of TPR

1.2 TPR relation with Characteristic of young learners

2. Pedagogical implications teaching English to primary school children using TPR

2.1 The Principles of Total Physical Response

2.2 Teacher's and learners roles

3. Complexion and techniques of TPR classroom activities

3.1 TPR teaching materials and forms

3.2 Procedures of teaching

3.3 Advantages of TPR


1. Methodology and design of an empirical research

2. Analysis of research results




TPR - Total Physical Response

LAD - Language Acquisition Device

ESL - English as a Second Language


Tell me and I will forget,

show me and I may remember,

involve me and I will learn.

(Chinese proverb)

Teaching English to the primary school students is not an easy task since it requires a lot of creativity. According to Harmer (2001), young learners learn differently from older learners, adolescents, and adults. They easily get bored, losing interest after ten minutes or so. Their world is still full of enjoyable activities. If English is taught interestingly, it will motivate them to learn it better. According to child psychology, children`s language ability is developed through practical application; thus, the acquisition of language should be nature and direct. Brown(2001) states that people speak first instead of both reading and writing. In the classroom, speaking is used twice as often as listening and the most often used skill.

Cameron(2001) states that many teachers still apply traditional method in teaching English for young learners. For example, teachers make the students keep learning through teacher's explanation of new words or grammar. In fact, this method is not effective because students will easily forget the words and the material if they learn different topics. Especially for young learners, those who are seven to twelve years old, this method is uninteresting. However there are many methods that can be used in teaching English to young learners. But the applied methods need to be not only interesting but also effective in teaching language. Cameron (2001) sais that students will not be able to speak foreign language well just my memorizing lists of words, repeating mechanically some useful expressions, and so on. If young learners do not understand the spoken language, they can't learn it effectively. Harmer (2007: 84) sais that some students forget the material easily because they are not active during learning process or involved in learning process directly; there are no good atmosphere and environment of learning process in the class if there is no interaction or response between students and teacher. If students just sit in their chairs and listen to teacher's explanation it will make students bored. and they will not enjoy the learning process. Harmer (2007: 84) states that " the students must be encouraged to respond to texts and situations with their own thoughts and experiences, rather than just answering questions and doing abstract learning activities. The teacher must give them tasks which they are able to do, rather than risk humiliating them".

Therefore the Total Physical Response activities developed by James Asher provide ideas to create the activity for the success of the English language learning. In this paper, we will introduce peculiarities of Total Physical Response method and how this method is practiced to young learners in primary schools. We will also discuss why and how TPR can help teachers to improve their teaching through analyzing the features of children learning. Ways of using TPR in classroom will also be presented.

Object of the research: teaching English to young learners through TPR method

Objectives of the research: to analyse the peculiarities of TPR application in primary school


1. To investigate Students' motivation and interests in learning English enhanced through TPR.

2. To identify pedagogical implications teaching English to primary school children using TPR

3. To analyse the complexion and techniques of TPR classroom activities


I. Theoretical analysis of the literature (Analysis of scientific literature)

II. Interview.


1. Students' motivation and interests in learning English enhanced through TPR

In this chapter we are going to ascertain what is Total Physical Response, what premises the TPR is based on and how acquiring of second language depends of children development stage.

1.1 The Basic Concept of TPR

Total Physical Response (TPR) is a language teaching method that was developed by James Asher, a professor of psychology at Jose State University, California, in 1977 ( Brown, 2001). This method built on coordination of speech and action; it attempts to teach language through physical ( motor) activity. According to Diaz (2005), who is a former language teacher and consultant in TPR and language instruction in general, the research base for TPR dates back to the 1960s, and experiments performed with epileptic volunteers whose right and left brain hemispheres were surgically severed. (The idea was that epileptic seizures begin on one side of the brain and migrated to the other, so if they could isolate the event to one side of the brain, the seizures might be less extreme.) Asher, as a psychologist, was one of the researchers. From then on, he began to investigate some interesting relationships between language and movement. His work led him to formulate the theory known today as Total Physical Response, or TPR.

Asher (as cited in Richards and Rodgers, 2001:75) developed TPR relying on three learning hypotheses facilitate and inhibit foreign language learning. Those hypotheses are the bio-program, brain lateralization, and reduction of stress.

The first hypothesis is the Bio-program. Asher believed that first and foreign language learning is parallel process. Asher mentioned three processes as essential: first children develop listening competence before the ability to speak. Second, children's ability in listening comprehension is learned because children are required to respond physically to spoke language in form of parental command. Third, when listening comprehension has been established, speech develops naturally and effortlessly. According to Asher, brain and nervous system is biologically programmed both in a particular sequence and mode. The sequence is listening before speaking. The mode is to deal language with the individual's body.

The second hypothesis is brain lateralization. Asher suggested that TPR tend to right-brain learning. The Asher's belief based on jean Piaget's work ( as cited in Richards and Rodgers, 2001: 75) that suggested that children acquire language through motor movement - a right-hemisphere activity. A right-hemisphere activity should precede left-hemisphere activity to process the language for production. Right-hemisphere activity will encourage left-hemisphere to produce language when the right-hemisphere activity has occurred. Therefore , the right-hemisphere activity should expose in the process of the children's language learning because children frequently learn language indirectly rather than directly. Besides, the right-hemisphere activity emphasizes on the things that seems to be fun. Garcia(2001) explains further that the TPR approach is a right brain method of learning a language because the language is taught mainly through actions. In the other words, commands play as the core of the course.

The third hypothesis is reduction of stress. The fundamental factors for successful language learning is the absence of stress. If students are free from stressful situation, they are able to devote full energy for learning ( Richard and Rodgers, 2001)

David (2004) says that Asher's language learning theories are reminiscent of the views of some behavioural psychologists. She agrees with Asher and sais that his premise is based on Chomsky`s theory of LAD, which insists that humans are born with a special biological brain mechanism, called a Language Acquisition Device (LAD). This theory suppose...