Circling Emotions

I often repeat the same exact question three or four times in a row using different emotions.  One would think that this would bore the kids, but the kids can be fooled into decoding the same sentence multiple times by asking them questions in different ways using different emotions.

C’est vrai?/Is that true? said in a timid way, for example, conveys a completely different meaning than the same expression said with anger, or with embarrassment, or with surprise. 

The emotions override the meaning, and the students don’t notice that the words are the same.  This keeps interest high in the structure, resulting in more meaningful repetitions and greater acquisition. 

A multitude of studies support this trickery, stating that most of human communication is non-verbal. If these studies are accurate, it means that many language teachers plan their teaching around less than 10% of what is actually happening in the classroom! 

If you want to prove the accuracy of this research, simply point to something in class while you are speaking, but do not connect what you are saying with what you are pointing at.  All heads will turn and focus at what you are pointing at, and the kids will completely tune out your verbal message in favor of the (fake) visual message.  The effective TPRS teacher will explore the role of the voice to convey meaning in their own classroom.


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