The way children learn a foreign language, and therefore the way to teach it, obviously depends on their development stage. "It would not be reasonable to ask a child to do a task that demands a sophisticated control of spatial orientation (for example, tracing a root on a map) if he or she has not developed this skill. On the other hand, beginners of 11 or 12 years of age will not respond well to an activity that they perceive as childish, or well below their intellectual level, even if it is linguistically appropriate (for example, identifying an odd shape out of matching picture halves)" (Sarah Phillips, 2003:5). To avoid such misapprehension teachers has to remember childrens limitation.Jean Piaget (in Queen J. Allen, 2003 ) suggested that children think differently than adults and proposed a stage theory of cognitive development. He was the first to note that children play an active role in gaining knowledge of the world. According to Piagets framework, teaching English to children can mean working with very different age groups with different interest and needs. Brown ( 2001) also believes that to successfully teach English to children requires specific skill and intuition. Teacher has to know the characteristic of children., Scott and Ytreberg (200:1-5) sais "there is a big difference between what children of five can do and what children of ten can do. Some children develop early, some later. Some children develop gradually, others in leaps and bounds. Children of five are little children. Children of ten are relatively mature children with an adult side and childish side. What seven to ten years old children can do at their own level? They are competence users of mother tongue. They can tell the difference between the fact and fiction. They love to play and learn best when they enjoy themselves, but they also take themselves seriously and like to think what they are doing is really work. They are enthusiastic and positive about learning. They rely on the spoken word as well as the physical world to convey and understand meaning. They are able to work with others and learn from others. Their own understanding comes through eyes, hands, and ears. They have very short attention and concentration span. Overall, children in primary school still like to play and learn through their hands, eyes, and ears". According to those characteristics most activities for the young learners should include movement and involve the senses.
Phillips (2003) states, that young learners are children from the first year of formal schooling (five or six year old) to eleven or twelve years old. So young learners are unique and different from adult learners. They have special characteristics in the way of learning. They do not learn by thinking, but by doing things. Scott and Ytreber (2007) sais, that giving words to young learners are not enough, but they need activities that include movements and involve senses. Brown(2001) also states that children need to have all five senses stimulated in learning. Young learners pay less attention than adult learners do. Therefore, the learning process of young learners requires a nice environment and attractive and fun methods in order to motivate them.
Moreover, Slattrey and Willis(2001) state that young learners are developing quickly as individuals, they learn in a variety of ways, they try to make sense of situation by making use non-verbal clues, they talk in their mother tongue about what they understand and do, they can generally imitate the sounds they hear, quite accurately and copy the way adult speak, and they love to play and use their imagination.addition, TPR and young learners are historically related. Asher ( as cited in Brown, 2001) developed Total physical response underlying the principles of child language acquisition. He notes that children in learning their first language appear to do a lot of listening before they speak, and that their listening is accompanied by physical responses ( reaching, grabbing, moving, looking, and etc.).That is why Total Physical Response activities give children opportunity to have physical activity in their lessons.
In summary, the way children learn depend on their developments stage. As they have very short attention and concentration span their activities should include movement and involve the senses.are unique and think differently than adult. They have special characteristics in the way of learning and according to child psychology, childrens language ability is developed through practical application. Children are interested to learn by doing or actively involved in the learning process which requires joyful activities and nice environment. TPR activities allow children have motor activities in their lessons and allows silent period before children start speaking.
2.Pedagogical implications teaching English to primary school children using TPR
this chapter we will get familiar with the main principles of Total Physical Response and peculiarities of teachers and learners role in learning and teaching process.
2.1 The Principles of Total Physical Response
Before applying the TPR method for teaching a foreign language, in this case, it is English, a teacher should understand its principles well so he will be able to use it properly in the teaching learning process. Asher (1984), as the developer of TPR, elaborates the principles of this method, they are: second language learning is parallel to first language learning and should reflect the same naturalistic process; listening should develop before speaking; children respond physically to spoken language, and adult learners learn better if they do that too; once listening comprehension has been developed, speech develops naturally and effortlessly out of it; delaying speech reduces stress (Asher,1984)., Larsen and Freeman (2000: 114) propose several principles in teaching learning process by using TPR upon which the teachers behaviours is based. The principles of TPR are as follows: meaning in the target language can often be conveyed through action; memory is activated through learners response; the target language should be presented in chunks, not just word by word; the students understanding of the target language should be developed before speaking; students can initially learn one part of the language rapidly by moving their bodies; the imperative is powerful linguistic device through which the teacher can direct student behaviour; students can learn through observing actions as well as by performing the action themselves; feeling of success and low anxiety facilitate learning; students should not be made to memorize fixed routines; correction should be carried out in an unobtrusive manner; students must not develop flexibility in understanding a novel combination of target language chunks; they need to understand more than the exact sentences used in training; language learning is more effective when it is fun; spoken language should be emphasized over written language; students will begin to speak when they are ready; students are expected to make errors when they first begin speaking; work on the fine details of the language should be postponed until students have become somewhat proficient.or less, Dordjowidjojo (2006) after his research defines three principles which are very analogous to Ashers ideas. He thinks that: skills can be improved by the use of kinaesthetic sensory system; humans, especially children, acquire their language through activities; comprehension precedes production". These three principles are manifested in the classroom practice. Students are allowed to spend as much time as they want to comprehend before they are to produce any sentence. To achieve this goal, physical movements are mandatory.(2007) also believes in language-body conversation and TPR method. His ideas do not really differ from other researches. Frost sais that parents have language-body conversations with their children, the parent instructs and the child physically responds to this. These conversations continue for many months before the child actually starts to speak itself. Even though it cant speak during this time, the child is taking in all of the language; the sounds and the patterns. Eventually when it has decoded enough, the child reproduces the language quite spontaneously. TPR attempts to mirror this effect in the language classroom.
Explanations and examples provide us a general idea of the principle of TPR-to imitate the process of infants first language acquisition i.e. understanding of the target language should be developed before speaking and students will start to speak when they are ready. There is a process which incorporated TPR in the second language learning classroom. Moreover, spoken language should be emphasized over written and presented in chunks, either students should be allowed to make mistakes at the beginning and should not be made to memorize fixed routines. Physical movements are necessary in teaching process in order to achieve teaching goals.
.2 Teachers and learners roles
Concerning childrens characteristics, a teacher needs to make teaching be more interesting and motivate children to learn. The primary school students still need a specific guide from teacher and people around them in order to follow the lesson well. Students can learn English in an interesting way and learn it through the Total Physical Response method. Therefore we are going to discuss what are teachers and learners roles in order to succeed good teaching results. However, the learners and the teacher play different