TPR: Total Physical Response- What it means to me and Helpful Tips

What is Total Physical Response (TPR)? Total Physical Response (TPR) is a method of teaching language or vocabulary concepts by using physical movement to react to verbal input…The purpose of TPR is to create a brain link between speech and action to boost language and vocabulary learning.”¹

I think TPR is teaching by emphasizing words, and acting out the meanings enthusiastically with gestures, and showing emotion to help children understand and learn new language/vocabulary quicker. Sort of like the game Charades.

TPR is so important when teaching students new vocabulary because it makes both teaching and learning fun. I also find that students are more engaged when a teacher is energetic and is able to act out meanings of words. Additionally, I feel like students are able to retain and apply new information better.

To evaluate comprehension, I ask students questions at the end of a lesson and/or play games by providing definitions of words and asking students to tell me the word I am describing or have them use the words we’ve learned during a lesson in sentences.

During my time with Qkids, I found that the more active, energetic and/or the more positive you are during a lesson, the better response you get from students. The students tend to enjoy the lesson and actually want to learn. Being overly enthusiastic doesn’t always work with students so you just have to teach with as much energy as you think is appropriate for each class, but always stay positive and smile a lot! 🙂

I understand that TPR is not just being silly, enthusiastic, or acting out words with gestures, it’s also used as a way to encourage students to respond in a way you need them to during a lesson. For example, if you want to show the correct pronunciation of a word, you can point to your mouth and enunciate slowly so that they are able to see HOW to say the word. Also, if you want students to repeat something you say, you can always cup your ear as if listening to the students after a phrase is spoken to prompt them into repeating. I usually say “can you (pointing to the student) say (pointing to my mouth) a word or sentence,” then cup my ear to encourage students to repeat after me.

Some TPR examples that I’ve done in classes include:

-saying and showing “click click” to prompt an action

-showing the difference between big and small by spreading my arms wide and then bringing them close together

-showing the difference between being cold and hot by shivering or by fanning myself

-encouraging students by nodding

-asking students to show me what a word means, for example, “what happens when you’re cold?” or something like that

-dancing, clapping, snapping my fingers during song slides

-pretend I am falling back or move side to side to show what “windy” is like

-acting out motions like jumping, running, swimming, etc…

-use different voices/tones to show emotion

There are so many more examples of TPR out there and I would love to hear what you do!

Before I end this blog, here are some tips for a successful demo interview:

*Be positive

*Be enthusiastic

*Speak slowly

*Be active: Use your hands, face, and body to show meanings of words

                -smile for happy

                -frown for sad

                -scowl for angry

                -swimming motion to emphasize swimming, etc…

*change your voice up to emphasize emotion

*Don’t be afraid to be silly

*Have fun! 🙂

Also, if you’d like to apply or have any questions about the application process for Qkids, please feel free to private message me via Facebook @Kim Arceo Moore, or email at

In case you need a referral code, please consider using mine: ZCGJQV

If you do use my referral code, please let me know so that I may accompany you on your journey to getting hired as a Qkids teacher. I really want to help you succeed!

Thanks for reading! (Note: I do not own any images featured in this blog.)


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