The Secret to Acing your VIPKID Interview/Demo Lesson: TPR!!!
Maybe you’ve heard through the VIPKID grapevine that Step 1 of the interview process (besides filling out general information regarding your experience with children) is a LIVE demo lesson! You must plan, prepare, and teach a lesson to a person at VIPKID headquarters! Here’s the kicker- you must pretend that the child you are teaching is 5 years old and knows limited English! Yes, it is a little awkward but you need to think of this lesson as a performance….not only are you demonstrating your teaching expertise but you are showing your ability to adapt to the environment and child (or adult) in front of you!! You need to be animated, full of energy, and engaging 🙂 Learning a new language can be quite intimidating….if you have ever visited a foreign country you know exactly what I am talking about! If you had not had this experience, I encourage you to hop on YOUTUBE and challenge yourself to learn a bit of a foreign language….this will give you a ton of insight on how it feels to be a non-native speaker! TPR (total physical response) IS THE KEY TO MAKING A NEW LANGUAGE ACCESSIBLE AND EASILY UNDERSTOOD!! This method is focused on the idea that assigning gestures, facial expressions, and specific “props” to different vocabulary words, concepts, and commands can assist in retention and application of a new language. The purpose is to create a brain connection between the actions and new vocabulary word, concept, or command. For example, maybe your lesson is focused around teaching the vocabulary word “bike”. In order to enhance the lesson, you show the student a toy bike while you say the word. Next you act out riding a bike and holding the handlebars, encouraging the student to do the same. Maybe you smile to show the child that riding a bike is an enjoyable activity. Later in the lesson, a picture of a bike is presented to the child and you model riding a bike again with saying a thing. Suddenly, the student’s memory is triggered and they remember the word “bike”! Pretty, amazing right?
In order to become a TPR pro, I encourage you to preview your demo lesson way in advance. Begin to generate ideas for specific gestures and props you can assign to the vocabulary words or concepts that align to the lesson objectives. Practice sharing your ideas with friends, your students (if you teach), and see if they respond well and can understand the concept you are trying to focus on! Many of you that are teachers will find this method almost identical to whole-brain teaching and will be able to incorporate many of these techniques into your VIPKID sessions. A KEY POINT to remember is that you want the student to be imitating your gestures and movements! This is how the student will develop a deep connection to the word, aid in acquisition and understanding of the word. If the student is struggling to understand they should copy your actions, you could point to them and say “you try”. Or use a puppet to act the gesture and point to the child again.
It is also important to remember you will want to incorporate TPR not only when you are teaching new content, but when you are giving instructions as well. For example, when you say “listen”, you will cup your ear. To help the student to understand the term “Can you read?” you might fold your hands to look like a book. The student is not expected to mimic these types of TPR gestures, but instead, it aids in them understand the directions of the task or activity. Want to learn more about TPR or need some ideas for specific props, gestures, or visuals to match specific vocabulary in your demo lesson? Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or click the links below to learn more about this amazing ESL technique! Using TPR will help you score MAJOR points on your demonstration lesson/interview 🙂