Masters Theses

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts



Major Professor

Bernard I. Issa

Committee Members

Bernard Issa, Harriet Bowden, Rodica Frimu


This thesis analyzes the effectiveness of two pedagogical techniques used in foreign language teaching on vocabulary growth in a university setting: Total Physical Response Storytelling (TPRS) and a more traditional approach that does not involve storytelling. Over two sessions taking place a week apart, participants were separated into either the Control group or the Experimental group. Each group learned the same list of vocabulary words in the treatment session. While the Control group learned the target vocabulary through a traditional method, the Experimental group learned the vocabulary through a story. In the introduction, TPRS’s origins are reviewed as well as its basic principles. Communicative Language Teaching (CLT) and another pedagogical approach known as Presentation, Practice, and Production (PPP) and its relation to this study are also explained. In the literature review, pertinent studies related to this thesis are presented which will highlight the relevance of the present study. In the Methods chapter, participants and materials are presented to demonstrate the exact manner in which everything occurred in the study. In the Procedures chapter, the data collection sessions are described in detail for both the Control and Experimental group. Next, the data are presented, and findings are explained which will show that although the Control group did make higher gains than the Experimental group according to the data, both groups made impressive gains, which does support positively answering our research questions regarding the effectiveness of TPRS as a teaching method in a foreign language classroom in a university setting. Lastly, limitations and conclusions for the study are presented.

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