18 TPR Examples! Total Physical Response (What is TPR? How To Use it in Teaching)

18 TPR Examples! Total Physical Response (What is TPR? How To Use it in Teaching)

What is TPR?

It stands for Total Physical Response.

And all this is, is simply over-exaggerated body language. So why is this relevant to Online English Teaching?

Well, communicating with someone who speaks a different language to you is a tricky thing. I know it is very tempting to simply say English words louder…but this doesn't really help.

Using this over the top body language helps to aid the student's comprehension of your communication…imagine sign language to a deaf person, and you're on the right path.

So here are some TPR tips and tricks in the video below:

How Do You Use Total Physical Response?

You would simply point your finger to your eye and say ‘Can you see?'

It's as simple as that. You can gesture to your mouth and say ‘Can you say?'

Here is a picture of a typical TPR gesture:

How to use TPR

Act Like a Clown!

Seriously, just let your silly side out. How many opportunities are there in the real world to be as animated as possible with absolute relevancy? So embrace the TPR!

Here are some examples of ways you can use TPR:

  • Pretend to have some binoculars using your hands – ‘Can you see?'
  • Tap your chin and pretend to be puzzled when asking a question.
  • Animate the sentence, for example, explaining an umbrella with the action of opening an umbrella.
  • Imitate animals, like a pig, by holding your nostrils up.

And that's just to name a few.

Obviously, it depends on the ability of the student, regarding how much TPR you use. For the younger students, try and use as much TPR as possible to keep them engaged.

TPR Actions Picture Guide

Although most actions are basic, they can be easy to forget while teaching online for companies like DaDa or Magic Ears.

TPR Actions can be considered fairly obvious, but it’s crucial to remember to be consistent when using them.

If you are going to assign a gesture to an action, word, or sound, make sure you use the same one every time. Below we've listed 18 TPR actions to use that are the most effective.

Hopefully, this quick picture guide will help you guys remember what to use and when to use it, and get your students understanding and engaging.

18 TPR Actions Picture Guide

TPR Pictures
  • Hello – 2 hands exaggerated wave
  • Me – 2 hands point yourself
  • You – 2 hands point to them
  • Good job – 2 thumbs up
  • Wrong – make and X with your arms
  • I don’t know – 2 hands in V shape with puzzled look
TPR Picture
  • I don't know – scratch the head with puzzled look
  • Celebrate – raise your hand and pump
  • Heart/love – make a heart shape with fingers or hands
  • High 5 – Do a high 5 to the screen
  • Handshake – Do a handshake to the screen
TPR Picture
  • Look – pointing to your eyes and then the screen
  • Can you see? – make binoculars
  • I’m listening – hand to the ear
  • Speaking – point to mouth
  • Think – Point to head
  • Please talk/read – hand mouth flapping thumb to fingers

TPR Actions Video Guide

How To Enhance Your TPR

If you're arms are getting tired from all of this TPR action. You can digitally enhance your TPR using webcam software ManyCam for teaching online. For example you can use a digital glasses accessory for ‘Can you see?' type questions. You can read more about using ManyCam by clicking the image below:

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