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Infographic: Language And Your Brain … Nature V. Nurture?

By on February 17, 2012
Continuing Education, Domestic, Flipped Classrooms, Infographics, International, K-12, Private, Public, Required, Startups, Universities & Colleges


Via: Voxy Blog

Warm-Up Activity

Before handing out the infographic, discuss the following question with your students: What gives humans the ability to acquire and learn languages?

Speaking & Critical Thinking Practice

Questions to ask your students after presenting the infographic:

1. What is the most surprising fact that you discovered from this infographic?

2. Imagine that you are a doctor, and one of your patients has suffered a severe head injury. You show him a picture of three people in a kitchen and ask him to describe what is going on. He answers:

Wife is dry dishes. Water down! Oh boy! Okay Awright. Okay …Cookie is down…fall, and girl, okay, girl…boy…um…

How would you diagnose him? Why?

3. How might a patient with Wernicke’s aphasia describe the same image (from question 2 above) of three people in a kitchen?

4. fMRI is one of the most widely known brain imagining techniques. However, it is not the best technique to use in certain scenarios. Describe a situation in which researchers would need to use an imaging technique other than fMRI.

5. Are biological or environmental factors a greater influence on how we learn language?

6. Do you believe in the critical period hypothesis? Why or why not? Give evidence from your own language learning experiences.

Writing Challenge

Many of us know people who seem to pick up languages effortlessly. Ask your students to interviewsomeone that they believe to be a successful language learner. In particular, they should ask their interviewees to describe how they were able to master their new language(s).

Following the interview, students will write an essay or blog post that 1. summarizes the information gathered in the interview and 2. reflects on whether or not language learning abilities could be wired in our DNA/brains.

Alternative assignment for students without someone to interview: Have them search YouTube for videos of 3 polyglots who describe how they have successfully learned multiple languages. Using the information from these videos, students will complete the same writing prompt as those who have chosen the interview option.



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