When I visit a website I am often curious to know something about the person who was responsible for setting it up. As I imagine there are others who feel this way, I have decided to offer a little information about myself.
So, let me begin by introducing myself. I am Stephen Mark Silvers. I was born in Los Angeles, California in 1947 (So now you can easily figure out how old I am!) From 1955 to 1964, my family lived in Youngstown, Ohio , where I was active in the Boy Scouts (I was an Eagle Scout) and the Jewish Community Center's youth clubs. We moved back to Los Angeles in 1964, and in 1967 I graduated from Los Angeles Valley College with an Associate of Arts degree. In June of 1969 I graduated from UCLA with a B.A. in Spanish. In September I began graduate school, again at UCLA, working on a master's in Spanish. At the same time, I began work on a State of California Standard Teaching Credential in Secondary Teaching, with a major in Spanish and a minor in English, which I received in June of 1970. During the year of 1971, I was a programs assistant at UCLA's International Student Center.
In January of 1972, I took a leave of absence from my studies at UCLA and went to Manaus, Brazil, a city right in the heart of the Amazon Rainforest, to teach English as a U.S. Information Service English Teaching Fellow at the Brazilian-American Bi-National Center (ICBEU). I had previously received a similar offer to teach English in Peru and why I went to Brazil instead is a mystery even to me. Perhaps it was destiny. From day one, I was in love with the country and the people, and it was there, at the end of the year, that I met my wife. I renewed my fellowship for another year and in January of 1974 I got married. I returned to LA with my bride and finished my master's, graduating in June.
Shortly after my graduation, we returned to Brazil, and I obtained a position to teach English at the Federal University of Amazonas (UFAM), where I worked until I retired in 2003. There I taught all levels from beginners to advanced, as well as conversation, American Literature, Culture of the English-Speaking Countries, and EFL Methodology.
In 1978 I met Dr. James J. Asher, the originator of the Total Physical Response (TPR) approach to language learning and instruction, an approach based on the premise that before being asked to speak the students should first develop their ability to understand the language through classroom activities in which they perform physical actions as a response to spoken commands given by the teacher. Much of my professional work has revolved around developing materials using this approach.
In 2004, I was offered a position as a translator and an English teacher at CT-PIM, a Science and Technology Center for the Industrial Pole of Manaus. There I did some translations but basically was responsible for giving classes to engineers who needed a good command of English as their work takes them to diverse parts of the world, from Europe to China. I was also responsible for testing the level of English of candidates applying to work at the Center.
We have three children, all born and raised in Brazil. However, as each one reached adulthood, they moved to Seattle, where my sister was living. In August of 2010 my wife and I moved to Seattle to be near our children and grandchildren.
I am now retired, but I continue to read and produce works related to teaching English as a second or foreign language. My favorite pastimes are spending time with my children and two granddaughters, reading and listening to music (especially Brazilian music.)
PARTICIPATION IN PROFESSIONAL MEETINGS & COURSES
1. Twelfth Annual TESOL Convention, Mexico City, 1978.
Presentation: Games for the classroom and the English-speaking club.
2. I Regional ESP Seminar, Federal University of Paraiba, 1979.
Presentation: ESP at the University of Amazonas.
3. III Seminar of Research at the Amazonian Universities, University of Amazonas, 1981.
Presentation: Total Physical Response at the University of Amazonas
4. VI ENPULI - National Conference of University Teachers of English, Federal University of Pernambuco, 1984.
Presentation: Total Physical Response at the University of Amazonas
5. VII ENPULI - National Conference of University Teachers of English, Federal University of Ceará, 1985.
Presentation: Total Physical Response in the 5th grade.
Presentation (poster): Have you tried Total Physical Response?
6. I Brazilian Conference of Applied Linguistics, State University of Campinas, 1986.
7. X ENPULI - National Conference of University Teachers of English, Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro, 1990.
Presentation: A look at “The Command Book”
8. 2nd National BRAZ-TESOL Convention, Rio de Janeiro, 1990.
Presentation: A practical introduction to Total Physical Response
9. XI ENPULI - National Conference of University Teachers of English, São Marcos College, 1991.
Presentation: An introduction to computers in teaching, research and programs administration.
10. I EPULIAMA - I Conference of University English Teachers in the Amazon Region, University of Amazonas, 1991.
11. British Council Specialist Course: Computers in English Language Education, and Research, University of
Lancaster, Lancaster, England, April 3-15, 1991.
12. 3rd National BRAZ-TESOL Convention, São Paulo, 1992.
Presentation: A Total Physical Response approach to the teaching of vocabulary and grammar
13. XII ENPULI - National Conference of University Teachers of English, Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, 1993
Presentation (1): Syllabus design as a decision-making process.
Presentation (2): A needs analysis of the University of Amazonas’ School of Technology. (with Paula Renan
Gomes da Silva and Bruce Patrick Osborne)
14. 4th National BRAZ-TESOL Convention. Riberão Preto, 1994.
Presentation: Getting started with Total Physical Response
Presentation: Fun and learning: motivating activities for beginning EFL students (workshop given with Paulo
Renan Gomes da Silva).
15. XIII National Conference of University Teachers of English, Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro, 1995.
Presentation: Setting up a self-access center at the University of Amazonas (with Paulo Renan Gomes da Silva)
16. XIV ENPULI - National Conference of University Teachers of English, Federal University of Minas Gerais, 1997.
Presentation: Writing Point and Touch: Reflections on a specific instance of syllabus design and materials
17. 8th National BRAZ-TESOL Convention. Florianopolis, 2002.
Presentation: Materials design for teaching English at the junior-high level
18. XVII ENPULI - National Conference of University Teachers of English, Federal University of Santa Catarina, 2003.
Presentation: Materials design for teaching English at the junior-high level in the Amazonas State public schools.
19. 10th National BRAZ-TESOL Convention. Brasilia, 2006.
20. WAESOL Conference (Washington State affiliate of TESOL). Des Moines, Washington, 2014.
1. Listen and Perform: The teacher’s guidebook. Los Gatos, California: Sky Oaks Productions, 1985.
2. Listen and Perform: The TPR student workbook. Los Gatos, California: Sky Oaks Productions, 1985. Second
edition, 1994. (Spanish edition: Escute y Actue, 1992. French edition: Ecountez et Representer, 1992)
3. The command book. Los Gatos, California: Sky Oaks Productions, 1992.
4. Point and Touch: Grammar and vocabulary exercises for beginning EFL students.
Manaus, Brazil: Universidade do Amazonas, 2000.
5. Listen and Act: Book 1. (special edition for the Amazonas State public schools - 5th grade).
Manaus, Brazil: Editora Novo Tempo, 2000.
6. Listen and Act: Book 2. (special edition for the Amazonas State public schools - 6th grade).
Manaus, Brazil: Editora Novo Tempo, 2001.
7. Listen and Act: Book 3 (special edition for the Amazonas State public schools - 7th grade).
Manaus, Brazil: Editora Novo Tempo, 2002.
8. Listen and Act: Book 4 (special edition for the Amazonas State public schools - 8th grade).
Manaus, Brazil: Editora Novo Tempo, 2003.
9. Poems I have enjoyed: A personal anthology. (an anthology of 214 poems from 101 poets).
Seattle. Privately printed, 2012.
10. Complete English grammar on a CD: The best way to TPR any grammatical feature in English.
Los Gatos, California: Sky Oaks Productions, 2013.
11. Listen and Draw: Easy drawing activities for the EFL/ESL classroom—A teacher’s resource book.
Seattle, Washington: University Book Store Press, (ubookstore.com), 2015.
12. More poems I have enjoyed: A personal anthology. (an anthology of 274 poems from 150 poets).
Seattle. Privately printed, 2015.
13. Listen and Draw: Easy drawing activities for the EFL/ESL classroom—A teacher’s resource book. New ed.
(n.p.): Author. (Also available as an e-book), 2018
14. Fun Facts for the EFL/ESL classroom: A teacher’s resource book. (n.p.): Author. (Also available as an e-
1. The Total Physical Response or learning another language through actions. English Teaching Forum 19(1), 1981. Reprinted in Hizkuntzen Irakaskuntza: Zenbait Artikulu, Basque Ministry of Education, 1985.
2. Games for the classroom and the English-speaking club English Teaching Forum 20(2), 1982. Reprinted in
Hizkuntzen Irakaskuntza: Zenbait Artikulu, Basque Ministry of Education, 1985.
3. A practical introduction to Total Physical Response Proceedings of the 2nd National BRAZ-TESOL Convention,
4. A Total Physical Response approach to the teaching of vocabulary and grammar. Proceedings of the 3rd
National BRAZ-TESOL Convention, BRAZ-TESOL, 1993.
5. Discourse analysis of the spoken and written versions of a short narrative MOARA- Publication of the Graduate Courses in Letters and Arts of the Federal University of Belem, (BRAZIL) 1996.
6. How to TPR abstractions: The critical role of imagination. (with James J. Asher). The Journal of the Imagination in Language Learning and Teaching, Volume VII, 2002-2003
7. Materials design for teaching English at the junior-high level, Linguagem & Ensino, Revista do Curso de
Mestrado em Letras , Universidade Católica de Pelotas, Volume 8, Numero 1, 2005.
8. A practical guide to actions in the classroom, MEXTESOL Journal, Vol. 39, No. 2, May 2015.
9. Drawing out language: Using drawings to develop listening and speaking skills. English Teaching Professional 114 (January), 2018.
10. Enliven your class and engage your students with fun facts English Teaching Forum 61(1), 2023.
DOCUMENTARY FILMS PRODUCED
1. Total Physical Response: a fun and efficient method, a 45-minute documentary film showing the use of this method
with students at the University of Amazonas, produced in conjunction with the State of Amazonas Educational
Television Foundation, 1978.
2. Total Physical Response in the 5th grade, a 25-minute documentary film showing fifth-grade students in a public
school learning English through Total Physical Response, produced in conjunction with the State of Amazonas
Educational Television Foundation, 1984.
My memoir (a book recording events in my life along with interesting and amusing related facts)
The EFL/ESL teacher’s word frequency book: frequency information for teachers and materials developers.
A grammar for EFL teachers. The working title is Basic English grammar for EFL/ESL teachers: a reference and practical guidebook.
Materials or a book for teaching American literature at bi-national centers and universities in countries where English is taught as a foreign language.
An EFL student course book. The working title is Fast Foreword: A rapid introduction to English