THROUGH TOTAL PHYSICAL RESPONSE METHOD
English is a medium of communication which can help people to interact, converse, and share to other people. English is as an international language that’s why it is possible to everyone to communicate with other people around the world if someone has an ability to use English. The ability in using English is very important to everyone. This is one of the ways to improve human resources. The developing of human resources by mastering English will be better if it starts as early as possible. That’s why Indonesian Government has already run the policy and regulation for Elementary school to give English subject for the students in the classroom. It is one of the concerns of the Indonesian government to encounter the era of information and technology.
English has been taught in Indonesia at Elementary school as one of the local content subjects. It is hoped that the students will learn and comprehend English as early as possible and can practice simple conversation. According to “Ministry of Natonal Education ”(1993), the aim of teaching English at Elementary School as follows: (1) “Siswa dapat memahami kata-kata dalam bahasa Inggris yang sering ditemukan dan digunakan dalam kehidupan sehari hari. (2) Siswa mampu berkomunikasi dalam bahasa Inggris secara sederhana”.
In communication, students need vocabulary which can support them to produces and use meaningful sentences because vocabulary provide organ of sentence. That’s why vocabulary is very important to be mastered. Jeremy Harmer (1991, 153) classifies that “Then it is vocabulary that provides the vital organs and flesh”. For that reason the students have to develop their vocabulary and master it in order to be able to communicate with other.
Vocabulary is not only sign of symbol for ideas but also a part of how to improve language skills in the target language. The more vocabulary students learn the more ideas they should have, so they can communicate by using their ideas more effectively. It is mentioned by Julian Edge (1993, 27),” Knowing a lot of words in a foreign language is very important. The more words we know, the better our chance of understanding or making ourselves understood”
However, students sometimes get difficulties to use or apply the vocabulary. Their difficulties in using vocabulary which have been studied can be caused some reasons. One of the reasons could be in the method which is used by the teacher in presenting the lesson in the classroom. That’s why the appropriate method in delivering the lesson in the classroom should be considered.
One of the methods which is suitable for children in learning vocabulary is Total Physical Response (TPR) method. James Asher (http:/www.tpr-world.com,1 ) stated that “use TPR method for new vocabulary and grammar, to help students immediately understand the target language in chunks rather than word-by-word. This instant success is absolutely thrilling for students”. It shows that using Total Physical Respond method is effective to help the students to learn the target language because the students practice directly using the vocabulary in real context. By doing so, the students can develop the storage of the vocabulary in a short time. Besides that Total Physical Respond method also helps the children to understand and memorize linguistic input because the children use body movement as media in the process of learning. It is mentioned by Jack C Richard and Theodore s Rodgers, (1986, 92) that “The movement of the body seems to be powerful mediator for the understanding, organization and storage of macro details of linguistic input”. Considering to the above explanation, this paper discusses the TPR method, characteristics of children, and advantages of TPR method to children.
B. The total phisical response method
Total physical Response is one of the language teaching methods which was develop by James Asher, a professor of psychology at San Jose State University, California. He used the commands from the teacher to students or a student to another student. Students try to answer or response the commands through the movements of the body or action. According to Jack C. Richard and Theodore S. Rodgers (1993, 90) “Total Physical Response is a language teaching method built around the coordination of speech and action; it attempts to teach language through physical (motor) activity” . It is obviously described that physical response is the medium to stimulate interaction between teacher and learners.
Total Physical Response has characteristic. Asher who developed this method, focused in particular on two characteristics of first language acquisition which is written in David Nunan’s book ( 1991, 244)
1.”The child gets a vast amount of comprehensible input before beginning to speak. Young children comprehend language which is far in excess of their ability to produce.
2. There is a lot physical manipulation and action language accompanying early input. Throw the ball to Rudi’, put your arm through here’, etc. This action language, encouraging physical manipulation, is couched in the imperative” .
From the above description, the students try to comprehend the utterances of language before trying to produce verbal language. They learn by using physical movements or actions. To make it easy for the students, the teacher should not give abstract words first. It can be delayed until students can comprehend the target language. Asher ( 1991, 244) stated that: “Abstractions should be delayed until students have internalized a details cognitive map of the target language. Abstractions are not necessary for people to decode the grammatical structure of a language. Once students have internalized the target language” . To know more about Total Physical Response, the following is the basic principles of Total Physical Response which was created by Asher (1974, 244):
- When should stress comprehension rather that production at the beginning levels of second language instruction with no demands on the learners to generate the target structure themselves.
- We should obey the ‘here and now’ principle.
- We should provide input to the learners by getting them to carry commands. These commands should be couched in the imperative” .
There are many kinds of activities which can be used by teacher in the process of learning using Total Physical Response Method such as:
- Exercise by using command (imperative drill).
This is the main activity which teacher can do in the classroom by using TPR method. This exercise is essential to demonstrate body movement and activity from students. It is hoped that when students are demonstrating the responses by acting out they will absorb and comprehend the meaningful sentences or utterance.
- Dialogue (conversational dialogue).
Students can interact and have conversation during the lesson. While having the conversation students can memorize and comprehend sentences in real context because students are brought to the real context in the conversation. For example when a student is asked to cry, walk, open, etc, he will do like the real one.
- Playing a Role ( Role Play ).
In this section every student is invited to act out his/her daily activity such as in school, restaurant, supermarket, and so on. It is very interesting and useful for students to practice the language because they are really like to act although pretending to be other people.
- Presentation by using OHP or LCD.
Using OHP or LCD is also very interesting to develop students’ motivation in the learning process. In this form, students are asked to read or pronounce the words written on the screen. After that teacher asks students to act it out in front of the class about the words which have been learnt. Or teacher asks students to answer directly after the command are written on the screen. It will give a good feedback for students when they can answer it well.
5. Reading and writing activities.
Reading and writing activities develop not only vocabulary but also train students to make sentences based on the right order. This activity can create students’ imagination because they try to illustrate and translate the others’ action into sentence by writing on the whiteboard. Or while reading a passage, the others’ describe it in acting in front of classroom.
C. Characteristics of children
Generally children like doing any kinds of activities as long as they feel happy. Children will choose the activities they like to do according to their own characteristics. The character of the children may be one of the signs of their development. According to Wendy A Schott et al (1990, 4) the characteristics of children are as follow:
- The children ask questions all the time.
- They rely on the spoken word as well as the physical world to convey and understand meaning.
- They have definite views about what they like and do not like doing.
- They have developed sense of fairness about what happen in the classroom and begin to questions the teachers’ decisions.
- They are able to work with others and learn from others” .
Using the body movement in the process of learning is suitable to the characteristic of the children because children like to do physical movement. They like to move from one place to another place. They like to go around without thinking whether they disturb their surrounding or not. They don’t like to keep staying in one place which forces them not to do something. Geoffrey Broughton stated that” Young children are physically active”(1980, 169) .
Besides that children also like to imitate and mime. They will give attention to other people and try to imitate merely like other people do and say. This is the way how children learn and develop their knowledge. This is supported by George Broughton et al ( 1980, 169) Rivers that “Children love to imitate and mime: they are uninhibited in acting out roles, and they enjoy repetition because it gives them a sense of assurance and achievement” . According to the points of explanation above, children like to be involved in something active. To make them active, the teacher should be able to make the circumstance of learning process which is suitable to the characteristics of the children. It may give motivation to the students to learn effectively. So hopefully the goal of the learning can be achieved well.
D. Advantages of tpr method to children
TPR method which developed by Prof. Dr. James J. Asher; a professor of psychology at San Jose University California has been succeeded in learning of foreign language for children. The successful of learning process can’t be separated from the advantages of TPR method itself. The advantages of using Total Physical Response Method in teaching English are wide.
Firstly, Total Physical Response method creates positive thinking which facilitates the student to involve in learning process, so it can develop not only motivation but also the aim of students in learning. Besides that this method is very easy and the usage of language contains of action games, that’s why it can help student to learn fast and effectively. Besides that it is also able to avoid the problem which students usually meet during the process of learning especially when they study foreign language. James Asher (ttp//www.tpr.world.com,1) stated that “Use Total Physical Response method for new vocabulary and grammar, to help your students immediately understand the target language … . This instant success is absolutely thrilling for students”.
Secondly, teaching vocabulary to children by using Total Physical Response method is very useful for children because children like to give response by using physical response first better than using verbal response. It is very suitable when the process of learning is emphasized on physical response in the students’ response. Children also not only like to response and act out something new but also intend to know more and more about language by responding the action toward the given command. “Directly utterances to children contains of command and children or students will respond toward their physic before they start to produce verbal response”. (James Asher,http://www.tpr-world.com,1).
Thirdly, This method can facilitate students with the meaning in real context. Students can memorize the vocabulary by looking at the action, even though the vocabulary is not translated. So the presence of action in the classroom is as an imperative to help teacher in explaining the materials for students and in understanding the meaning of vocabulary. Because of this method uses basic command and real context in the process of learning it is very helpful for students to know the meaning. By telling students to stand up, put their hands in the air, and pick up something and give it to another students, etc, are acting which commonly and naturally done by students so it is easy for them to memorize the vocabulary or utterance. ”. It is supported by Teacher Joe’s (http://www.teacherjoe.us/teachers TPR.html, 1) that “TPR trains students to respond quickly and naturally while also teaching vocabulary in a fun, lively lesson”.
The usage of Total Physical Response method emphasize in action so students are involved in activities in the process of learning. This circumstance is interesting to students. So by using this method students can accept the lesson easier and faster. Even though Total Physical Response Method is effective to teach vocabulary, teacher needs to think of media to set up the context in delivering the lesson of vocabulary to students. Besides teacher should be willing to create conducive learning.
Fourthly, using Total Physical Response method is interesting and fun. It is very suitable for the students’ characteristics which have been mentioned before. By giving something interesting and funny makes children attentively focused on the process of learning. Because of that situation children feel free to involve in learning process. Besides that they are not under pressed by the threatening situation and condition. Finally they can get the aim of learning by keeping on learning and giving attention to the lesson. ESL Café’s Idea Cookbook-TPR.(http://www.eslcafe.com, 1) supported that “It’s fun! It’s non-threatening. It keep their attention. They learn!”. For example: put your left hand in the air
- put it down – put your right hand in the air – put it down – put both hands in the air – put them down – put your left foot in the air – put it down – put your right foot in the air – put it down – put both feet in the air ! Students try jumping in the air or attempt a handstand on their desks! Another funny sequence of basic TPR is : – clap your hands – clap your hands three times – clap them five times – clap your hands 800 times ! – turn around – turn around twice then clap once – jump once – jump seven times – turn around, jump once and clap twice – turn three times, jump five times and clap twice! Students really struggle hard to remember this last one, but if you do it step by step and repeat often, they can do it eventually.
Total Physical Response is one of the learning processes which involves the students actively in the classroom activities. It can be affective in delivering explicit instruction in learning. The effectiveness of the Total Physical Response has been shown by the experts in some countries and has given significant improvement of students’ achievement in learning English especially vocabulary in language target. As children are physically active by nature, Total Physical Response will make language learning especially vocabulary more effective because children feel fun during the learning. This methods of instruction “injects the lesson with both physical activity and fun as the students playact their roles and respond to both simple yes/no questions and more complex questions about who, where, when, etc.” (James Asher, http:/www.tpr-world.com )
By having a good skills in presenting the lessons in any kinds of models teacher is encouraged to develop knowledge and stimulate children’s to learn. The knowledge and experience are influences in developing of children’s vocabulary, that’s why teacher should be able to manage and select the material which can be absorbed by children. Besides that comprehension of the vocabulary should be more emphasized and developed in the learning process in order to get the aim of learning vocabulary. Finally, after knowing some of the advantages of Total Physical Respond method, hopefully teacher is able to present the lesson to students or children effectively.
Broughton Geoffrey, Teaching English as a Foreighn Language: Routledge and Kegan Paul, London, 1980, 169.
Edge Julian, Essential of English Language Teaching: Longman, New York 1993, 27.
Harmer Jeremy, The Pracatice of English Language Teaching: Longman Group, London 1991, 153.
Ministry of National Education GBPP Kurikulu SD, Jakarta,1993.
Nunan David, Language Teaching Methodology: Prentile Hall International Ltd, 1991,188-244
Richard C Jack and Theodore S Rodgers, Approach and Method on Language Teaching: Cambridge University Press New York, 1986, 92
Total Physical Response known worldwide as Teaching Ideas for the ESL Classroom: