A STUDY OF THE EFFECTIVENESS OF SIMULTANEOUS ORAL PRODUCTION AND THE TOTAL PHYSICAL RESPONSE STRATEGY ON THE SPEAKING ACHIEVEMENT, ATTITUDES MOTIVATION, AND INTEREST OF LEVEL I SPANISH STUDENTS

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1986

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Abstract

Total Physical Response (TPR) is a teaching strategy in which students learn a foreign language by physically acting out teacher-directed commands. The TPR instruction strategy is based on asking the students to be silent, to listen carefully to commands and then to physically respond. The TPR strategy allows students to take an "active" part rather than an "observational" part in the learning process. It was the purpose of this study to examine this issue from three perspectives:

  1. whether first year foreign language students achieve higher in the skill of speaking if they are in action while learning selected Level I objectives; and
  2. the impact of delayed oral response in a pure TPR strategy as compared to inclusion of a speaking component in a modified version of TPR.
  3. whether there were differences in the speaking achievement between middle school and senior high school Level I foreign language students who were taught via the pure TPR and modified TPR strategy. The sample was comprised of 178 Level I Spanish students from three secondary schools in a suburban Baltimore school district. Two of the participating schools were Middle schools - grades six through eight. The third school was a Senior high school - grades nine through twelve. Subjects were randomly assigned to the experimental condition. Subjects were pretested at the onset of the study. The measurement was designed to predict potential success or failure in learning a foreign language. Additionally, subjects completed: (1) the speaking section of a bilingual syntax measure to assess their level of foreign language competency; (2) an attitude and motivation battery designed to measure attitude and motivation related to second language learning; and (3) a teacher-prepared perception questionnaire for assessing subject's perception and preference of being taught via different teaching strategies. The findings of this study revealed that the two Pure TPR groups achieved the highest mean scores on all evaluative measures. The ten hours of delayed oral practice experienced by both Pure TPR groups provided valuable comprehension training for these students. The advantage of providing this listening period became apparent in higher evaluative scores as evidenced at both the senior high and middle school level. Furthermore, the finding s of the present investigation suggest that the use of "active" learning as opposed to "observational" learning in the foreign language classroom can be part of an effective strategy for language instruction.

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