TPRS® Overview

Maybe you’ve heard the term TPRS® at a conference or vaguely remember reading an article somewhere, but you don’t know much about it.  Here’s a quick overview to get you started.

Back in the 1990s, a Spanish teacher named Blaine Ray used his off-beat creativity to build on his basic TPR lessons.  When he used the physical responses his students were already doing in class and put those into stories, he discovered that both student-retention and student-interest increased substantially.

It makes sense.  Languages are used for communication so when we practice that language in a communicative context, our brains see it as useful and we tend to retain it easier.  Have you ever heard of a mother who refused to use anything but the present tense with her daughter until the girl mastered that concept?  Or how about a father who wouldn’t teach his son to say, “I have to go to the potty” until the boy could conjugate the verb “have” on request?  Of course not.  We use language in context.  That’s how it works.  That’s how we communicate.   In fact, if we take language out of context it’s no longer really language.  It’s merely a nonsensical set of phonemes until we string them together to communicate.

The concept behind TPRS® takes those individual phonemes and strings them together in a repetitious story format.  This unites these powerful techniques proven to lock in memories (the context of a story and repetition) and intensifies the result.  Add to that Stephen Krashen’s comprehensible input theories, and the outcome can be amazing.

Not only will the students acquire the language easier and more efficiently, but the stories meld the efforts of students and teachers together in a way that has a true gestalt quality, producing more than the sum of its parts.

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