The following are some TPR-based Activities that can readily be adapted to most children’s classrooms:
1. Bouncing the Ball
The language of numbers, colours, days of the week, months of the year can be acquired by simply having the students bounce a ball. For example, each student could be assigned a month of the year. The teacher begins by forming a circle with the students, saying a month, and then the student who is that month has to catch the ball that is thrown into the middle of the circle. Conscious attention is centred on the act of catching the ball and staying alert, listening for ‘your’ month while the language itself is being internalised at a more or less peripheral level of consciousness.
2. Identification Game
After the class has acquired simple key words in specific vocabulary categories, pictures can be placed across the front of the room of people clearly demonstrating, for example, emotions. Students can be asked to come to the front of the room and choose the correct picture in response to a specific command; for example, “Nicholas, please find a picture of someone laughing.” Thank you. Class – do you agree? Is this a picture of someone laughing?” Class responds, “Yes/No this is/is not a picture of someone laughing.”
Other categories include professions, clothing, community buildings and locations, food items, modes of transportation, sports, and so on.
3. Information Gaps
Information Gap activities are those in which one student has information that another does not have but needs. One student may give a set of directions or commands to another student, who will then carry them out to meet a goal. For example, one student has an illustration on a card in her/his hand. The second student faces the blackboard and tries to draw the same illustration by following the directions that the first student gives her/him.
Summary: James Asher’s Total Physical Response involves giving a series of commands/instructions to which the students respond physically. The teacher demonstrates the instruction with the simultaneous use of gesture and illustration. The students remain silent until they are ready for oral speech. Once the language is mastered, students have the option of giving the instructions themselves. The main disadvantage to the TPR method is that the commands do not adhere to a logical sequence based on experience.