X300 Academic studies in Education
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AbstractBetween 1973 and 2000, social scientists conducted one of the most significant, innovative and challenging programmes in the history of linguistic and educational research. ‘Project Nim’ investigated both the interaction between nature and nurture and attempted to bring human level gestural communication to a chimpanzee called ‘Nim’. The study offered some of the most important insights into our understanding of language and cognition and what it means to be human, and represents a landmark in our thinking about teaching and learning, and education itself. Here, the authors contend that essential lessons from the experiment have been overlooked and risk being forgotten. This article revisits the study, exploring some of the issues it raises, and attempts to site what we learnt from Nim in the context of modern teaching practice. Through this re‐examination we intend to provoke thinking not only about ‘Project Nim’, but perhaps also about other lost lessons in education. We conclude by reflecting on the importance of remembering the lessons we learnt when trying to teach Nim, and how they can enhance our practice as teachers for all learners.
CitationJowett, A., Jewell, J. (2016) 'Classroom of the apes: is teaching monkey business?'. Journal of pedagogic development 6 (2) 55-58
PublisherUniversity of Bedfordshire
JournalJournal of pedagogic development
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