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Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Six Benefits of Using Commands for Language Learning

Six Benefits of Using Commands for Language Learning

I was first introduced to commands when I read Dr. James Asher book on Total Physical Response (TPR). I found it to be very insightful and logical. His book is based on his own experience and tons of study cases done with students and adults.  I would recommend reading the book to get the full scope of his experiments, study cases and for an extensive guide on how to apply TPR. For those that are interested in reading the book , you can find more information at the end of this post.
When I started incorporating TPR in my Spanish class, I noticed how children will rapidly remember what to do when a command was said. This experience corroborates with Dr. Asher concept that the assimilation of information and skills can be significantly accelerated through the use of the kinesthetic sensory system.
In using TPR, I also noticed how much fun they have when doing these simple actions. At first, I thought it was just fun for the preschool children since they love moving around; but I also noticed how the older students enjoyed it as well. After students get comfortable in doing the commands they hear, I then challenge them to say the commands for me and/or the other students to do. This is probably more fun for them!

 Students learn faster when an action is associate with what’s been said.

These are the six benefits I experience with my students:
1.      It boosts memory and helps internalize concepts.
2.      It creates a fun environment for learning and retention.
3.      It diminishes intimidation for the target language.
4.      It encourages participation even with shy students.
5.      It helps develop gross motor skills in young children.
6.      It prepares students for verbal expression down the line.

Just by telling my student to performed one word commands like: corre, camina, salta, etc (run, walk, jump, etc.) they have so much fun. So to add to the fun, I create these 20 hilarious commands which include more than just a one word command. 

Some ideas and suggestion to use with the command cards in Spanish:

1.      Introduce one or two commands at a time.
2.      Between each command use the word “alto” which means stop. This will help manage for how long students do a specific command.
3.      Once most of the commands are learned, you can have students select a number or a card and perform the command.
4.      Once students are comfortable with the commands, have them say the commands to their companions.
5.      Have students perform the command in groups of two’s  or three’s for added fun.
6.      Use the command cards to play the game "Simon says"

7.      Avoid translating a command. If a student does not remember the meaning of the command, then demonstrate by acting it out.

Hope these ideas are helpful. Your ideas and feedback are welcome! J

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The book I mention earlier in this post is:
Learning Another Language Through Action By James Asher (6th Edition)

Click here to purchase 20 Hilarious Commands in Spanish.

Click here to purchase 50 commands in Spanish.

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