Teaching children: Total Physical Response and elements of gamification

Publicado por Mariia

Children are different in their rhythm of studying and preferences. There are many approaches to teaching this age group, however, most of them mention such teaching technic as TFR (Total physical response) and elements of gamification. In this article we are going to learn about TFR.

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TFR as a method of teaching was invented by an American psychologist, James Asher. He became popular in 1970-s. The scientist decided to make it easier and more efficient for learners to study foreign languages. This method is based on the way how children learn the first language and can be called the principle of natural language perception.

First the child “listens” the language. Parents don’t make him talk; however, he starts to understand what they want from him, and starts to do the easy commands. For example, a parent may ask a child to “come here!” and he will do it. Only when the child gets confident enough, he starts to repeat words and speak by himself. To start talking it is essential to listen first, listen a lot! The period, when the child isn’t speaking is usually called a “silent period”.

TFR method is based on the concept that it is easier to learn a foreign language, if the process of studying is accompanied by physical activity. The easiest example – verbs of actions. Clap your hands! – show how to do it; Jump! – jump with a student; Run! – show him like you are running; Stand up! – get up from the chair with a child; Sit down! – show a student that you get back to your place.

To conclude, I’d like to say that with a help of TFR the children obtain listening skills. At the same time, physical activities let children adapt faster to learning, pronounce new words without stress in the beginning of the learning path. Songs with actions are a good example of TFR use.

Even the shiest children are getting used with a time to sing and dance like in a video or repeat after teacher. For super young learners TFR helps to start doing actions even before talking. For example, you say, “a car!” and a child starts to show a car with his hands and say “vroom, vroom!”.

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