Teaching Methods part 5
Teaching Methods part 5
Another teaching method that this research has identified is the use of the TPR, 'total physical response', method. The use of this method for teaching has been encouraged because it breaks away from the long-used traditional methods and provides for a new system and it has been in use for a while now. What we noticed in relation to curricula using the TPR teaching method is that it is often used at beginner levels of sign language learning, when students are new to the language and is used just for a while. That is not to say that once the TPR method of teaching ceases that it cannot be used again; the method may be used again in some situations throughout the course.
The TPR method involves the teacher demonstrating activities or asking the students to watch a certain task before working on it. For example, the teacher may want the students to learn how to sign 'opening a door' and, before beginning, they will physically open a door, allowing the students to watch the action actually happen before learning how to sign it. Another example would be the teacher demonstrating sitting down on a chair before showing the students how to sign this action.
The teacher may expand on this by asking some of the students to sit on certain chairs in the room, enabling the students to watch this action taking place before replicating it in BSL. This is effective, as the students are able to relate the signs that they are learning to the action it describes, which is the underlying aim of this TPR method.
Some people have questioned whether this method is the same as the 'direct method' of teaching. There are similarities but there are clear differences that separate the two approaches to teaching, clarifying the differences between the TPR and the direct methods.
The TPR approach is often liked by people who are new to teaching sign language, due to it being a new way of teaching and a break from the traditional methods. Some sign teachers do recognise and use this system of example-based teaching and like it. As mentioned already, it does seem more suited to students early on in their learning and then may be useful again at later stages. So this method of providing examples prior to teaching is what is referred to as the TPR method.
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