TPR is possibly one of the most used ESL techniques at VIPKID. According to Google, TPR (total physical response) is a teaching technique developed by James Asher and is the coordination of language and physical movement.
The key to TPR is that the student repeats the movement while saying the vocabulary word. I think of songs we teach our kids. ”
At VIPKID we use two different types of TPR in our classrooms; instructional, and educational. We use instructional TPR to elicit responses from our students. This could be something like cupping your ear when you’d like the student to answer, or making goggles with your hands when asking the student what he sees. I think this is the easier kind to use consistently.
Educational TPR is used with vocabulary and should be done by both teacher and student. Let’s say the vocabulary word you were trying to teach was “pig”. Push your nose up to make a pig nose and say the word. The student should do the same, and wa la. They have a funny action to help them remember the word. This concept has more to do with the student moving and the vocabulary word than with the movement itself. Be creative! The movements should make sense with the word, but you don’t need to go searching for a master list of movements.
Practice makes perfect, but practicing TPR can feel awkward. I used to do a lot of theater and the best place to practice performance art is in the mirror. Lock yourself in the bathroom and go through your list of vocabulary. Do it until it feels comfortable. When you get into your classroom, mouse over your video screen and go to “settings”. Open the camera tab and you should see yourself. This will give you the basic view of yourself in the classroom. Practice there. Make sure your movements are visible on the camera. This will look great in your interview and mock class.
I use TPR in all my classes, and I actually have tried it out with my kids. It’s like a miracle worker for my daughter and her speech delay.