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From my mail bag

Comments from language instructors around the world.

Whenever possible, we include their e-mail address so that you can communicate with your colleagues and share experiences.

To: Ramiro Garcia
Author of Instructor's Notebook, The Graphics Book, and TPR Bingo

Dear Mr. Garcia:

This year Professor Jim Martinez, our brilliant Pedagogic Director, used your books to introduce TPR to our students. Professor Jim enjoyed the total support and recognition of CEO and Managing Director, Mr. Marcio Lunardelli, along with other directors and teachers.

At 63, I was honored with the privilege of being the first teacher to use TPR in Spanish (again using your books) with Brazilian students.

My only comment: TPR is "FANTASTIC"! May I extend to you and Dr. Asher, the originator of TPR, my warmest congratulations.


Mauricio Pereira
Parana, Brazil

P.S. I really miss the characters in your book: Pepe, the skeleton, the frog, the snake and the others. Hard to get 'em down here.

TPR Trouble!

I read the books in the TPR Starter Kit and tried it out in my first little kids class in Japan. The children are ages 3 through 13. It was too successful. Did all that stand up, sit down, and walk business. And by popular demand the command run was introduced and necessity had me introducing STOP. I had great fun and so did the kids. Maybe too much. The owner of the school wants to observe my next classes, and wants me to stick to the class outline which is ALM of course.

Now that I am turned on to the TPR method, I feel guilty at putting these kids through the ALM. I can see the distress all over there faces. The kids were easy to convince, parents and administrators are going to be another thing. Any ideas?

More specifically: Material or references which will help me turn a ALM text into some fun TPR? Ramiro Garcia's book is great for a full course, but something geared more to taking over with TPR.

Because also, I have two other jobs one teaching conversation class at a college and another business communication course at Mitsubishi Motors. I need help at how I can introduce TPR successfully with these situations.

Very truly yours,

Danny Becker

I attended a TPR workshop at Calvin College in the 1980's--have been hooked ever since. Please send me the latest TPR catalog.

TJ Longest
West Vigo High School
West Terre Haute, IN

I am teaching grades 3, 4, and 5 Spanish. I use TPR daily and find that it is a very effective way to teach.

Jennifer Delahaye
Baton Rouge, LA

Dear Dr. Asher:

I have been using the TPR approach EXCLUSIVELY since learning it from you and your team in the early 1980's at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan.TPR gave me and my students an energy and enthusiasm we hadn't known before. Since then, MANY of my students (we are from rural northern Michigan) have gone on to study language further, have always done well on college entrance exams, and continue to keep in touch. One of the first TPR students is now an English teacher in China; another in Guam.

I cannot begin to thank you for helping me to TEACH SPANISH, instead of teaching "about" Spanish, as I had done for 13 years prior. Before I retire, I just had to say THANK YOU! If you were here, I'd give you a great big hug! Your method allowed my students to LOVE Spanish and to truly see it as a language, and not just another "class" of useless information.

If you ever think of starting a team of people to teach teachers here in the midwest, I'd love to join up so that EVERYONE can know about this and try it firsthand!!!

God bless you!

Irene Morrison

Dear Dr. Asher,

I recently read your book, Learning Another Language Through Actions. Just out of curiosity, with a new class I used the first lesson out of the back of the book. Unbelievable results! Thank you, Sir!

During our time here in Japan I and my family are interested in learning Japanese with the TPR approach. What materials can you recommend? Do you know of any EFL schools here in Japan using the TPR method?

Thank you,

David Johnson
EFL Teacher

Dear Dr Asher,

My name is Stefan Kubiak and I am a student of the third year at the English Teachers' Training College in Bialystok, Poland. At the same time, I have been a teacher-in-service for 7 years. Currently, I am writing my final thesis. I have decided to write about teaching English tenses using TPR.

Working in a state school we teach on average 3 hours a week, and we are obliged to comply with the national curriculum, which is extremely ambitious and demanding. Therefore we, in Poland, usually apply a lot of exercises on grammar which causes boredom and resentment on the part of our students.

My methodology teacher has drawn my attention to your outstanding method and advised that I should use the elements of TPR in my lessons and use this experience in my thesis. Simultaneously, she expressed her regret that TPR is good only for beginners and children, whereas the groups I teach (intermediate teenagers) are difficult to conduct in this way. After reading your 'Learning Another Language Through Actions', I decided to prove that the most of Polish experts on English teaching methodology are affected by very popular myths. The best proof would be a set of successful lessons described in my thesis. Therefore, I have some requests to you: 1. Could you give me some references, or direct information about teaching 'advanced' tense structures in TPR (future perfect, future progressive etc.)? 2. Could you tell me about the Internet links which will help me find more materials on the subject? (unfortunately, there is only one book by you and your followers in our library, and I have some serious difficulties in finding the necessary references to support my thesis). 3. Could you tell me something about TPR in the world?The last request is connected with my future plans of opening a language center in Bialystok where the lessons will be based on your method.I enclose my kind regards from eastern Poland.

Yours sincerely,

Stefan Kubiak

Dr. Asher,

I have wanted to thank you and tell you what an exciting year we are having here in Pennsylvania with our foreign languages. There is nothing that can compete with what is happening in my TPR classes. My eighth graders come in at the end of the day, 8th period, and say: "Please can we have another Spanish class, please-please-please?" I have NEVER had reactions like this year.

The students smile at me in the halls. Their parents have been calling the principal telling him how much their students like the class. The other teachers tell me what has been happening in their classes. Former students ask, "What did you do today in Spanish?" And, of course the students love to SHOW them.

About three weeks into the year, one girl came into class and said, "Mrs. Terrill, you'll never believe what happened to me last night!" No, I said, tell me. And she proceeded to tell me how she had gone to bed, turned out the light, and when she laid down her head and closed her eyes, she heard a jumble of Spanish words dancing around in her head. At this point she opened her mouth and they came tumpling out in a rush. She clapped her hand over her mouth. She had suddenly remembered our no speaking rule. I laughed, and applauded. Everyone joined me.

Parents have said: Our son is running and jumping around the house and yelling to himself in Spanish. Another father said our daughter is bossing her brother and sister around in Spanish. Are they doing what she tells them to do? Yes. Do they seem to enjoy it? Yes. "Is there a problem?" I asked. " No, I guess not," he replied, but her mother chided her with, "That's enougho, now pouro the watero!" Another mother told me her son is telling the family dog what to do in Spanish. And several mothers told me their children are really enjoying Spanish this year.

But the ones that hurt are last year's students in a traditional class who got "lost in the cracks." They ask me, "Why didn't you do this last year?" I said: " Well, let's be thankful I am doing it this year. Why don't you join us in Level 2?" The students reply: "I was advised not to continue with Spanish."

Other students who struggled through the traditional Level 1 last year, took a chance and continued with me into Level 2 (with TPR instruction). They are now wearing a smile and doing well. They tell me that they now understand everything that is going on in Spanish and have a good level of retention.

One of the things I wanted to tell you about has been how much more your books mean to me now, than when I first started. I am keeping a type of journal-diary of notes to remind myself of things I have tried and learned from. Thank you for the warning about speed and to repeat enough without boring the students.

Also, I have always felt so strongly about pronunciation that I was very tempted to ignore your advice about corrections. I am glad I took your advice and not mine. I am already seeing them correct themselves without any prodding from me.

We do a lot with pantomime and skits. We also use stick figures and simple sketches. It is amazing to see them put what they want to say into sequential "pictografos," and then hear them telling a story about the pictures to each other in Spanish. I gave them lists of vocabulary as the class progressed which they referred to often. Now they no longer use the lists other than referring to them for unusual or novel commands. I love their creativity and their simple drawings (some of which are excellent).

The advanced students were tongue-tied, but no longer. When I come into the class they are already speaking with each other in Spanish. THEY are asking grammar questions, which they usually try to guess at the answers. They are seeing the relationships between words, to the point where they make guesses at what a word might be by these relationships. They are really getting good at it. They grab dictionaries to look for a new word they want and then someone else asks them if they checked the word in the other part of the dictionary.

One of the things we are doing that is really fun is an "art class" once a week. This is with the advanced class. I read stories to them sometimes. Then we may take a topic from a story or a song, and with the students at the blackboards, I begin to tell them what to draw. It turns into a revised story, and they love to watch each others drawing, but never seem to try to copy from one another. I find there always comes a point when the story takes on a life of its own, and picks up speed until it comes to a sudden conclusion. They laugh and take time to examine each others work. Then I ask them "Que falta?" They have lots of creative ideas. It usually takes almost 40 minutes for this, but if not, they will call for MAS MAS MAS.

Well, this is a lot. But it expresses some of my joy and excitement. I cannot look back with regrets. I can only be glad that I am doing TPR now, and that next year will be better than next. I have NEVER enjoyed teaching as much as I do this year, and I have taught many things for a very long time.

It is so encouraging to finally find a way to teach languages that really works, and is fun. My students used to be surprised when the bell would ring. Now they are just disappointed.

Thank you,

Sandy Terrill

The originator of TPR, Dr. James Asher, became the topic of discussion in class last night as TPR was explored. Our hats are off to him.

G. Mahan
Graduate Student
Burbank, CA

Hi!I was keen to know what the famous TPR was so I ordered the most material I could buy at that time. I must confess that I devoured all your books, I simply do not know how to thank you. My life gave a turn of 180 degrees. I think I am one of the newest fanatics of your system. I wanted to say so.Thank you.

Best of the best,

Jim Martinez.

...from my own experience as a teacher of EFL for seven years in Taiwan, I know that I would have been seriously handicapped without (your TPR books) whenever teaching beginners of English study.

Professor Archie L. Gress
Providence University

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