“Total Physical Response”. A powerful technique for language skills development where a linguistic cue is paired with a gesture or action. For example, the facilitator says “eat!” and learners make a gesture that signifies eating. Also considered to be a major method of language teaching, and when thought of in this way, is generally appropriate for low skill, preliterate learners or children. But as a technique is incredibly versatile, dynamic and beneficial for all learners, not just kinesthetic learners. To get an idea of how TPR might be used as a high skill activity, give verbal instructions for an origami shape – or have one of your learners give verbal instructions for a paper creation.

In the real world, we give lots of verbal directions that contain complex references and cues and accompany time with feedback mechanisms and gestures, and we realize how these fail when we are working to build a language bridge (e.g., over the phone).

« Back to Glossary Index