Total Physical Response

Teaching Methodology


Total Physical Response (TPR) is one of the ways to learn a foreign language. This method was originally developed by James Asher. The essential principle of this method revolved around the association of language with physical movement. The teacher is expected to give instructions or commands to the students in the target language. The students then act on those commands with whole-body actions.

Total Physical Response is considered to be an excellent way of learning vocabulary. Moreover, since it is based on commands, the students can easily learn the meaning of the words in the target language. This method is quite popularly used for young learners. Lessons in TPR primarily focus on learning the meaning. It is not about learning grammar. It is more of a comprehension approach, whereby recognizing the meaning of the commands is crucial.

It is important to notice that such a method is mostly teacher-controlled. This is because the student is only expected to listen and act accordingly. The procedural techniques in this approach do not limit to fulfilling the commands only. Teachers also use role-plays and slide presentations to make it more interesting for the students.

This method exposes the learner to spoken language input. This means, that the students are constantly involved in decoding the messages that are a part of the teacher’s commands. In this method, grammar is not taught directly. In fact, it is through the developing of listening comprehension skills that the students eventually acquire an understanding of the grammatical structures of the language as well. Since, it is mainly about listening, the students are not forced to speak. Once the students have acquired basic understanding through listening, they are then motivated to speak in that language. In the initial stages, the student is allowed to use the native language.

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