TPRS (Teaching Proficiency through Reading and Storytelling) started off many years ago as TPR (Total Physical Response). When I was first researching it about two years ago, I stumbled across a Youtube video that actually shows TPR in its primitive stages.
In TPR, the instructor teaches the students through call and physical response. The teacher might say "touch your hand" and model it to the students. Then they will add more body parts and movements. This can be later changed to add sillier movements such as "dance your hand on your head."
In TPRS teaching, the instructors are advised to start with traditional TPR in the classroom to help students acquire some basic necessary vocabulary before the storytelling portion.
The text that I have chosen in order to help me learn a little more about the TPR process is TPR Stories for Paso a Paso by Karen Rowan. She has a done a good job of incorporating the slightly dated Paso a Paso book series to teaching TPRS. You don't have to have the book necessarily to teach with this method because it's mostly TPR and then later storytelling.
Today I have started off with my first few classes with TPR. We went over 8 commands involving touching body parts and one additional command "dance."
Since the classes that I have had so far are Spanish II and Spanish III, I thought that they might reject my method and opt for the traditional teaching of passive learning and staying in their seat. All of them tried it and seemed to enjoy it. Because I'm not asking them to speak, simply to do, they do well with it. I also tried to make it silly (as suggested) by telling them to do such things as "dance your mouth on your finger." I modeled it and they laughed and tried.
I've been nervous about this transition in my teaching for the past week more so than ever and today I felt a breath of fresh air. My students really did enjoy it and some made comments about how fun it was.
In the portion where I had them close their eyes and perform the actions, all of the students got 100%. Part of me wonders if some were peeking out of the corners of their eyes. But hey, the purpose of TPR is to teach all the students to succeed. The good thing is that we had plenty of repetitions for them and tomorrow we'll throw them in there as well. What I like is that since I have decided to start off the year in all levels (1-3) with the same material, I am able to adapt it as I go throughout the day and practice it way more. Once we get into storytelling, I will expect richer stories from the older students because they will have more exposure to vocabulary from previous years.
We'll see if they can remember it though.