With my pioneer research in the past 50 years, we learned a lot about acquiring languages by observing infants. For example, infants do not start life speaking their native language. For months, they are silent except for babbling, but during this silent period they carry on conversations with caretakers.
It works like this: The caretakers utter a direction and the infant responds with a physical action. For example, "Smile for grandpa." "Don't spit up on your bib." "Take my hand when we cross the street." "Pick up your toy and put it on your bed." I call these unique transactions, language-body conversations.
As I have demonstrated in published experiments with children and adults learning Spanish, French, German, Russian and Japanese: Something exciting happens when teachers use language-body conversations in the classroom. Students of all ages including adults, suddenly come to life.
They get excited because they actually understand everything the instructor is saying. As I like to tell instructors around the world, "If you can't convince students in five minutes that they can actually learn English, Spanish, Arabic or Chinese, you will not convince them even if they stay in your class for a year."
The most powerful tool in your linguistic tool box
Language-body conversations, the basis of TPR, is the most powerful tool in your box of linguistic tools. It will not solve all problems, but it will prepare your students for a successful transition to speaking, reading and writing. I call this stress-free tool, the Total Physical Response, known worldwide as TPR. It has stood "the test of time" for over 50 years in thousands of language classrooms worldwide.
Recently, an instructor in Mongolia told me, "With TPR, my students are internalizing English so fast, I had difficulty keeping up with them. I am embarrassed to tell you that I was jealous of their achievements and wanted to experience the same success in learning Mongolian...""
I recommend you follow up with...
My book, Learning Another Language Through Actions, now in the 7th edition and Ramiro Garcia's book, Instructor's Notebook: How to apply TPR for best results. If your budget allows, order the TPR Super Starter Kit, which has the books I recommend and much, much more!
Best wishes for continued success,
James J Asher, Ph.D
Originator of the Total Physical Response,
known worldwide as TPR