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The TPR method of Teaching Chinese to Students Who Learn Mandarin in China

Nowadays, teaching Chinese as second language has been another hot spot of education. Many people think by mistake that the beginning of teaching Chinese to foreigners who learn Mandarin in China is very low and its requirement for educator’s quality is not that high and anyone who can speak Chinese is qualified to be the educators. While, teaching Chinese as second language needs teachers who are competent and professional and has rich and flexible teaching methods. Only in this way, can the quality of teaching Chinese as second language be guaranteed and orbit the scientific education.

I. The development theory of teaching Chinese as second language and the theory of TPR

TPR is short for Total Physical Response and also called Direct Communicative Approach or Complete Physiological Reaction Theory. TPR teaching method is created by the famous US physiologist Dr. James J Asher, whose theoretical basis is: learning language at student age is the promotion of spoken and literary expression by listening and speaking; when the information got by listening and speaking transformed from quantitative change to qualitative change, students who learn Mandarin in China can use language naturally to express their own ideas. The advantage of Total Physical Response is to let children learn directly in games and make teaching Chinese as second language close to life, as well as stimulate children’s interest in learning Chinese as second language by emphasizing on the physical interactivity and vitality of teaching.

II. Traditional teaching Chinese as second language and TPR

Traditional teaching Chinese as second language is to teach grammar, that is to say, it is to help first learners grasp the language by teaching them the grammar structure of Chinese and training their consciousness of grammar structure.

TPR of teaching Chinese as second language is that teachers let students who learn Mandarin in China learn language by running, jumping and playing games instead of sitting on chairs as usual according to students’ physiological features of being active and non-persistent attention. In this way, the class atmosphere will be active and students who learn Mandarin in China will study on their own and keep attention for a long time. If students pronounce wrongly, teachers should keep repeating the pronunciation in a natural way until they pronounce right. Students do not have to repeat what the teacher says, but they have to respond to what the teacher says. The more correct the students’ feedback to the information that the teacher is sending, the more exact they understand this information. Some physiologist proves that enforcing students who learn Mandarin in China to repeat what teacher says will cause students’ physical pressure and nervousness and this will also limit the development and progress of students’ language learning skills.

III. The teaching pattern of TPR of teaching Chinese as second language

TPR of teaching Chinese as second language can take patterns as followings to arrange

Teaching method of playing games: teachers should design games which related to teaching contents and let students learn Chinese in activity and happiness. For example, when they are learning time, the game of “老狼,老狼几点了” can be used in teaching. The rules of the game are quite simple. One students play the role of “老狼” and other children play the roles of sheep and make a circle and cry loudly together, “老狼,老狼,几点了?”. The “老狼” will answer with his eyes closed, then open his eyes and jump on the flock of sheep with threatening gestures. Little sheep will scream and run in all directions. If someone is caught by “老狼”, he will play the role of “老狼” in the next round and the new round will be started then. This will make the class atmosphere very active and interesting. Children like this kind of teaching method. They can repeat the language structure again and again unconsciously and happily and remember it in their mind firmly. When they learn Chinese in this kind of easy ways, their fear and nervousness by repeating what their teacher says will be reduced and even fall in love with learning Chinese. Teachers should make more preparation of designing games and try their best to let students get involved with the learning process.

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