Going Ape With Gestures

The inner workings of how we communicate are fascinating so a press release caught my eye recently: A team of scientists at UCLA were able to draw clear parallels between language development in humans and apes.

There are several interesting contexts available which can be drawn from language, science, evolution etc for a challenging lesson in skills or vocabulary – see the synopsis below and you can search for the article in whichever British/US/Australian newspaper has the level of difficulty needed for your class. There’s even an opportunity for IELTS practise perhaps. However it’s utilised, it’s a great excuse for a chimp-like game of Pictionary at the beginning or end ;)

  • Recent research shows that the development of language in infant humans and apes is almost identical. Both begin to communicate by using gestures and then both move on to use symbols: vocal utterances in human and visual expressions (lexigrams) in the apes.

For a handy package containing thousands of teaching activities, those elusive flashcards, and a quick reference grammar book, also have a look at Complete TEFL Teacher Kit

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