‟Why most of the individuals trained in Turkey can not speak a foreign language fluently?” This question has been a subject of our daily conversations for a long time. Many of us might have heard some comments in the upper mentioned conversations such as ‟ inappropriate applications/approaches in our education system are the reasons for the problem”, or ‟language education was tried to be established through memorizing methods”. In fact, it is proved by scientific studies that these conclusions are not completely wrong. James J. Asher’s approach mentioned in his book -Learning Another Language through Actions, Total Physical Response – TPR, has proved itself with its practices and successful results in the last 60 years. For these reasons, one of the most basic techniques in foreign language education has been accepted as TPR. So what is TPR?
The logic behind TPR was developed based on how babies have learned their mother language from their parents since the beginning of the mankind. Accordingly, babies first learn the language with comprehension. In this process, they begin to grasp and understand the actions that parents executed and repeated. There is no speech during this process. But, it was seen that babies understand what is spoken and react to many questions. Speaking takes place spontaneously at the end of the comprehension process. In this process, babies match sounds that are elements of language with actions. These processes are carried out by the right lobe of the brain. They naturally understand and then speak the language in its natural process without a need for additional study, memorizing words, learning grammar, and taking exams. This natural process is the main scientific resource taken into account in developing the TPR methodology.
Memorizing vocabulary used in classical foreign language education, introducing grammar rules, putting children into patterns, and making the kids repeat lists of phrases usually use the left lobe of the brain and very little of the right lobe. In this process, as the brain is overloaded, the process of learning slows down. The information learned is not well memorized and usually forgotten before the lesson is over. Students cannot internalize the vocabulary which are completely foreign to them such as chair-desk-book. These concepts, which they hear for the first time, mean nothing to them. So learning does not happen.
TPR solves this problem by considering the fact that every individual needs to learn the language just as a baby learns its mother language. Accordingly, the teacher uses the language when making actions just like parents. As he/she stands up – says ‘stand up’. The teacher does this many times. In this way, the student hears the ‘stand up’ while doing that action and understands by practicing-living as he stands up. After similar applications are carried out by the teacher in a certain number, the student then internalizes the sounds he/she has actively practiced, seen, and heard and then understands the meaning. Now when the teacher says stand up, he starts to practice the action he learned. Speech, the next stage, will emerge spontaneously with activities after these and similar basic concepts are well established.
In foreign language teaching, TPR applications are implemented with body language and facial expressions. It is performed by showing elements of the foreign language to the student and asking him to act. In this way, after the reinforced basic level, classical language teaching methods will be used in certain proportions. TPR applications are not only a method of education for children. Individuals who want to learn foreign languages of all ages can learn much faster and easier with TPR.
In this context, let us briefly touch upon the principles of TPR applications:
- Second language learning is possible with the repetition of the natural process as happens in the mother language learning. Therefore, the elements of the language can only be transferred to the other party with the help of actions.
- Listening and understanding skills should improve before speaking. Speech will develop spontaneously as a result of this process.
- Children respond better to the education with actions, body language and speech. Thus, language is learned so quickly.
- Students can learn the vocabulary more permanently by seeing and repeating actions. In this way, while language teaching moves away from monotony, it becomes extremely entertaining and fun. The motivation of the children, who perceive this process as a game, increases and this speeds up the language learning.
So why, as Viptalkers, do we apply the TPR technique in our lessons?
The lessons are extremely fun with the TPR technique. A fun and active learning environment is provided instead of a monotonous lecture environment.
- It is extremely memorable and instructive. Since elements of the language are learned and lived by students, forgetting does not occur.
- As the learning with actions and body language takes place, students understand the subject very clearly.
- Apart from the conventional and boring teaching techniques, with TPR, students’ motivation and their interest in language learning increase, and they begin to participate the class activities voluntarily.
Learning foreign languages is not difficult at all when the right techniques are applied. I have not witnessed any baby crying for not being able to memorize the vocabulary J Because they learn the language naturally, by matching the actions of their parents with language. It has been seen in the TPR applications in the last 60 years that the same technique is equally effective even for old people.
For this reason, Viptalkers provides language education using the TPR technique with its expert tutor staff. All of our teachers are trained and certified (TEFL-TESOL).
If you or your child want to learn the language naturally and easily, Viptalkers, which provides language education with TPR technique, is ready for you…