The Benefits of Teaching With Total Physical Response
Young students learn in many different ways, which is why there are various teaching techniques available. One of these various techniques is the Total Physical Response (TPR) method, which involves students acting out the meaning of a specific word or phrase you’re teaching them. You’re probably familiar with the term, but you might not be aware of the benefits of TPR teaching. As you’ll learn below, this method can be particularly useful for teaching young students new languages.
TPR in education involves the students listening to the teacher. Obviously, class, in general, should involve listening, but the TPR teaching method is a great way to demand immediate attention. Don’t worry, although “demand” sounds forceful, TPR is a fun activity. The demand comes from the fact students will have to do actions corresponding to words or phrases the teachers say. TPR teaching is a simple way to involve students in the lesson instead of letting them daydream during class.
Asking for your students’ attention is one thing, but retaining it is another. Luckily, TPR is an effective strategy for engaging students. As we touched on above, TPR teaching asks students to listen attentively to the teacher so they can carry out motions corresponding with key vocabulary words and phrases.
If you were simply teaching by having students sit and listen to you explain vocabulary, although they may listen initially, you could lose their attention pretty quickly. By asking students to act out vocabulary over the course of the activity, you involve them in the lesson in a more impactful way. Memorization is key when learning new languages, and the repetitious movements of the TPR method help with that exact principle.
At the core of TPR is the desire to help students better understand what you’re teaching them. TPR is less about pronunciations and spelling than it is about comprehending what the word means. True comprehension of what a word means acts as a great educational foundation before you get into the more technical side of new vocabulary (pronunciation and spelling).
Thanks to the benefits of teaching with Total Physical Response, this concept is a great tool for helping young students learn Spanish. Luckily, TPR is an activity that teachers can easily integrate into their daily activities. In fact, our Spanish curriculum for elementary schools includes a TPR activity, allowing you to weave this method into your teaching naturally.