WHAT IS TPR?
Why have college and university teacher trainers underestimated the value of TPR?
When does TPR not work?
WHAT IS TPR?
Total Physical Response is a language learning method based on the coordination of speech and action. It was developed by James Asher, a professor of psychology at San Jose State University, California. It is linkedto the trace theory of memory, which holds that the more often or intensively a memory connection is traced, the stronger the memory will be.
TPR is based on the premise that the human brain has a biological program for acquiring any natural language on earth - including the sign language of the deaf. The process is visible when we observe how infants internalize their first language.
The secret is a unique "conversation" between the parent and infant. For example, the first conversation is a parent saying, "Look at daddy. Look at daddy." The infant's face turns in the direction of the voice and daddy exclaims, "She's looking at me! She's looking at me!" Dr. Asher calls this "a language-body conversation" because the parent speaks and the infant answers with a physical response such as looking, smiling, laughing, turning, walking, reaching, grasping, holding, sitting, running, and so forth.
Notice that these "conversations" continue for many months before the child utters anything more intelligible than "mommy" or "daddy."