TPR: Total Physical Response

One of the parts about teaching online that can be tricky to conceptualize is how to engage students and make yourself understood across distance and language divides. Qkids teachers have a range of tools in their belt to help with such situations, and one of the first they have learned is TPR. Today Kimberly will share how she uses TPR in the class. Enjoy!

TPR: Total Physical Response: What it Means to Me and Helpful Tips

Just to give a little background about myself: I live in Nevada with my awesome husband and two children. I have a Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing and started my nursing career in 2008. I've worked in many different areas including neurology, trauma, orthopedics, and research. My hobbies include crafting and crocheting. 

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.”
For me, 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 teaching and learning fun. 

Second, I find that students are more engaged when a teacher is energetic and can act out the meanings of words. Third, I feel like students can 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.

Benefits of Good TPR

Working 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! J

I understand that TPR is not just being silly, enthusiastic, or acting out words with gestures, it's also 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 can 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 to show emotion

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

Using TPR During Interviews

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
I can’t tell you enough how happy I am to be a part of this company.  It is a great feeling to know that you are making a difference (no matter how small) in a child’s life. If you are thinking of applying to Qkids, I say “Go for it!” The requirements can be found here: and I am happy to answer any questions you may have.  You can reach me on facebook: @KimArceoMoore or find me on Instagram @KimsCraftMedley.

My referral code is: ZCGJQV

I recommend working for Qkids wholeheartedly.

Have fun! J
Thanks for reading!

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