Thursday, December 17, 2009

Checking for Comprehension Using Total Physical Response (TPR)

We all know what most learners will say if we ask, “Do you understand?” Here are some alternative ways to check for comprehension.

--Ask a learner to show you the action or the object that you name.

--Ask learners to actively listen to a story that you tell, draw, or act out. Then ask them specific questions that can be answered with “yes” or “no”. Each student must respond by holding up a color card, one color for “no”, a different color for “”yes”.

--Learners brainstorm a list of clothing items while you record them on the board. Working from the list, ask people to stand if they are wearing a particular item. Or use family relationships and ask students to raise their hands if they are sisters, brothers, husbands, etc.

--Act out commands as you speak them. Students copy the actions. The visual component assures comprehension and the body language reinforces memory. With beginners, use TPR to teach classroom commands, like “please sit down” or “open your books”. For more advanced learners, in work readiness classes, for example, demonstrate the use of a piece of equipment, naming each step as you perform the action. Eventually, give the commands without demonstrating. Student response will be a clear sign of comprehension! Now ask students to take turns giving and following the commands.

How do you check and see if your students understand? Share your ideas in a comment.

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