What is TPR and how to use it at home

In this article I will briefly explain what TPR is and how we use it at home to teach my children Spanish.

What is TPR?

TPR(Total Physical Response) is a teaching method created by Dr. Asher for beginning language learners. It is based on giving instructions to the students and showing words and verbs with actions. In this way students can associate the actions with the words.
This method is based on the way children learn a native language by observing how parents act and the actions they take.

Why do we use TPR?

It is a practical way to teach vocabulary and verbs to children. There is a know proverb that says “Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn”. If children are actively involved, they can learn words by acting them out.

Students do not have to say or use words in a new language. Saying words in a new language often leads students to hesitation or frustration.

It can be incorporated into daily routines at home such as: when setting the table, cooking or putting on clothes.

How do we use TPR at home?

General vocabulary: e.g. imitating different animals. Showing different objects in the house.

Verbs: this is the way we use this method the most. It takes us 5 minutes per session to go through a list of verbs and act out those verbs. For example: read, sit, walk, run.

Instructions: open drawer, tie shoe straps.

Examples of vocabulary


Caminar lento

Caminar rapido





Abrir un libro





abrir la puerta

cerrar la puerta

tocar el timbre

You can read our experiences and methods to teach Spanish to our children at home here

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