Wednesday 28 April 2010

Total Physical Response

Lets us first consider a general approach to foreign language instruction which has been named’ the Comprehension Approach.’ It is called this because of the importance it gives to listening comprehension. Most of the other methods we have looked at have students speaking the targets language from the first day. In the 1960s and 1970s research gave rise to the hypothesis that language learning should start first with understanding and later proceed to production (Winitz 1981).
There are several methods being practiced today that have in common an attempt to apply these observation to foreign language instruction. One such method is Krashen and Terrell’s Natural Approach. The National Approach shares certain features with the Direct Method, which we examined in chapter 3.

We follow the teacher as she enters the room and we take a seat in the back of the room. Then she explain about the material for today. She explain’ you will be studying English in a way that is similar to the way you learned Swedish. You will not speak first. Rather, you will just listen to me and do as I do. I will give you a command to do something in English and you will do the action along with me.
In English the teacher says, ‘Stand up.’ As she says it, she stands up and the signal for the four volunteers rise with her.

We will next turn to out ten question in order to increase out understanding of Total Physical Response.

1. What are the goals of teacher who use TPR?
Teacher who use TPR believe in the importance of having their students enjoy their experience in learning to communicate in a foreign language. In fact, TPR was developed in order to reduce the stress people feel when studying foreign languages and thereby encourage students to persist in their study beyond a beginning level of proficiency. The way to do this, Asher believes.
2. What is the role of the teacher? What is the role of the students?
Initially, the teacher is the director of all student behavior. The students are imitators of her nonverbal model. At some point (usually after ten to twenty hours of instruction), some students will be’ ready to speak.’

3. What are some characteristics of the teaching/learning process?
The first phase of a lesson is one of modeling. The instruction issues commands to a few students, then same performs demonstrate that they can understand the commands by performing them alone.

4. What is the nature of student-teacher interaction? What is the nature of student-student interaction?
The teacher interacts with the whole group of students and with individual students. Initially the interaction is characterized by the teacher speaking and the student responding nonverbally. Students performs the action together. Students can learn by watching each other. At some point, however, Asher believes observers must demonstrate their understanding of the commands in order to retain them.

5. How are the feelings of the students dealt with?
One of the main reason TPR was developed was to reduce the stress people feel when studying foreign languages. One of the primary way this is accomplished is to allow learners to speak when they are ready. Forcing them to speak before then will only create anxiety. The use of zany commands and humorous skits are two ways of showing that language learning can be fun.

6. How is language viewed? How is culture viewed?
Just as the acquisition of the native language, the oral modality is primary. Culture is the lifestyle of people who speak the language natively.

7. What areas of language are emphasized? What language skills are emphasized?
Vocabulary and grammatical structures are emphasized over other language areas.
These are embedded within-imperatives. The imperatives are single words and multi-words chunks. One reason for the use of imperatives is their frequency of occurrence in the speech directed at young children learning their native language. Understand its production. The spoken language word should precede its production. The spoken language is emphasized over written language.

8. What is the role of the students’ native language?
TPR is usually introduce in the student’ native language. After the introduction, rarely would the native language be used. Meaning is made clear through body movements.

9. How is evaluation accomplished?
Formal evaluation can be conducted simply by commanding individual students to perform a series of action.

10. How does the teacher respond to student errors?
It’s expected that students will make errors when they first begin speaking. Teachers should be tolerance of them and only correct major errors. Even these should be corrected unobtrusively.

The major technique, as we saw in the lesson we observed, is the use of commands to direct behavior. Asher acknowledges that, although this technique is powerful, a variety of activities is preferred for maintaining student interest. A detail description of using commands is provided below.

The commands are given to get students to perform an action; the action makes the meaning of the command clear. Since Asher suggests keeping the pace lively, it is necessary for a teacher to plan in advance just which commands she will introduce in a lesson. At first, to clarify meaning, the teacher performs the actions with the students. Later the teacher directs the students alone. The students’ action tell the teacher whether or not the students understand. Asher advices teachers to vary the sequence of the commands so that students do not simply memorize the action sequence without ever connecting the actions with the language. Asher believes it’s very important that the students feel successful. Therefore, the teacher should not introduce new commands too fast. It’s recommended that a teacher present three commands at a time. After students feel successful with these, three more can be taught. Asher claims that all grammar features can be communicated through imperatives. To give example of a more advanced lesson, one might introduce the form of the past tense.

At the point we saw the teacher give three connected commands. For example, the teacher told the student to point the door, walk to the door, and touch the door. As the students learn more and more of the target language, a longer series of connected commands can be given, which together comprise a whole procedure. A little later on students might receive the following instruction;

Take out a pen
Take out a piece of paper
Write a letter( imaginary )
Fold the letter
Put it in an envelope
Seal the envelope
Write the address on the envelope
Put a stamp on the envelope
Mail the later

This series of commands is called an action sequence, or an operation. Many everyday activities, like writing a letter, can be broken down into an action sequence that students can be asked in perform.

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