Wednesday, October 15, 2014

TPR - As Simple as Simon Says

TPR, Total Physical Response, is a well-known teaching technique developed by Dr James Asher in the 1960s that integrates language and movement. Basically, the teacher gives instructions and the students respond with whole body actions. TPR activities appeal to kinaesthetic, audio and visual learners alike, and it's wonderful when an activity can be so inclusive.

from walking in the jungle by debbie harter

I love it! It's so much fun, and can be as simple as Simon Says. Students can practice the target language (in my case, English) without knowing it, thus eliminating potential stress and nervousness. I don't want them feeling embarrassed when they speak English or to be worrying about making mistakes. And it's a great way to use their energy, instead of trying to keep them sitting down at a table all day. It's easier to transmit my love of languages through actions than by having them study quietly.

As I mentioned, one of the games the children love is Simon Says. They're at a stage where they enjoy mimicking, and they pick up the vocabulary very quickly.

I also incorporate actions and expressions into storytelling and songs. Today my moment of joy was when, during their playtime, I heard one of my students singing Walking in the Jungle, a story-song we like to read and act out together. (A shout-out to Sailor Girl, who gave me this book and CD! There's also an animated version available on Youtube if you're interested.)

I highly recommend incorporating TPR into the language and young learner classroom. If you're interested, check out, with books and resources by Dr Asher. For quick classroom ideas, there are tons of videos online. I particularly like the Barefoot Book series (which includes Walking in the Jungle) and Patty Shukla PE videos. You can also have fun and develop your own games and stories to use!

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