“Wherever the story of our natural world ultimately lands, Jane Goodall will have earned a proud place in its telling.”D. Marchese, The New York Times, July 12, 2021
ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key
Excerpt: Why Jane Goodall Still Has Hope for Us Humans, By David Marchese, The New York Times, July 12, 2021
Note: [The following is an interview with Ms. Jane Goodall conducted by David Marchese, The New York Times]
“Goodall, 87, first found fame in the early 1960s for her paradigm-busting work as a primatologist. Studying the chimpanzees of Gombe Stream National Park in Tanzania, she was the first to observe those entrancing animals eating meat and using tools, thus expanding our understanding of primate capabilities.
While that work is likely to remain what the public primarily associates her with, Goodall’s career as an activist is arguably her more important legacy. She has spent 44 years leading conservation efforts through her Jane Goodall Institute and seeding the future with like-minded souls via the Roots & Shoots educational programs for young people, which can be found in more than 60 countries and have nurtured millions of students.
DM: The stories you tell about the planet and conservation have to do with instilling hope…But all we have to do is look around to see the persuasiveness of stories built on fear and anger. Have you ever wondered if tapping into those emotions might be useful?
JG: No. It’s one of my big complaints when I talk to the media: Yes, we absolutely need to know all the doom and gloom because we are approaching a crossroads, and if we don’t take action it could be too late. But traveling the world I’d see so many projects of restoration, animal and plant species being rescued from the brink of extinction, people tackling what seemed impossible and not giving up. Those are the stories that should have equal time, because they’re what gives people hope. If you don’t have hope, why bother? Why should I bother to think about my ecological footprint if I don’t think that what I do is going to make a difference?
DM: Are there ideas you have about conservation that you feel are too radical to express publicly?
JG: Absolutely. I would never approach people about the crisis of the billions of animals in the factory farms and say you’ve got to be vegan. People have to change gradually. If you eat meat one less day a week, that’s the beginning. Bad zoos, you want to close them down, but you’ve got to work out what are we going to do with the animals when we do get it closed down. You have to make compromises… I don’t ever want to appear holier than thou. You’ve got to be reasonable. If you tell people, ‘You’ve got to stop doing that,’ they immediately don’t want to talk to you. The main thing is to keep a channel open. Young activists, sometimes they’re inexperienced and demand something. They ask my advice, and I say: Talk about how the issue is affecting you. How you feel about it. I think that’s the way forward. But that’s just my way.
DM: You mentioned zoos. Should they exist?
JG: Oh, yeah. The really good ones have people who understand the animals. They’ve got lovely enclosures. They do a lot of education, especially for children. They put money into conservation programs in the field. They give veterinary training for people caring for animals in captivity around the world. The other thing is, people think out in the wild is utopia for animals. If they’d seen the places I’ve seen, where you hear the chain saws approaching while snares are catching chimps and others are being shot. Then you watch a group of chimps in a good zoo: two or three males grooming, two females lying in the sun, the babies playing. You think, let me put myself in the position of a chimp: I’d rather be in a zoo. People often don’t think from the point of view of the animal.
DM: This is maybe a goofy question, but did you ever personally identify with a chimp you studied?
JG: Nobody has asked me that before. The answer is no. There were chimps I liked a lot. Chimps I loved, I guess you could say. Chimps I totally disliked. [Goodall takes a photo down from the bookshelf behind her.] This one here, I’ll show him to you because he was very special. He was the first one to lose his fear of me.
DM: David Greybeard.
JG: Yes, David Greybeard. He showed me tool-using, helped me get the trust of the others. [Goodall takes down another photo.] Then this one is Frodo. He was a bully. He attacked me several times, but not with a desire to hurt or kill, because otherwise I wouldn’t be here. He was just asserting his dominance.
I was always saying in my mind, Frodo, I know you’re dominant. You do not have to prove it. When he was young, other infants would be playing, and Frodo would join in, and the others would immediately stop because when Frodo joined in then the game would turn nasty, and he’d hurt somebody.
DM: There are obviously plenty of unanswered questions about primate behavior. In your mind, does the same apply to humans?
JG: You’re asking me, ‘Do you understand human nature?’ Definitely not. But I think there are people, for example strict materialists or religious fundamentalists, who have schematics that they feel afford them an understanding of all human behavior.
Religious fundamentalism is one of the strangest things. Religion has a bad name because of fundamentalism. But if you look at every major religion, the golden rule is the same: Do to others as you would have them do to you. These fundamentalists are not actually preaching about the fundamental principles of the religion that they are talking about. They’re educating young people to believe ridiculous things. At the beginning of Islam, nobody ever said that if you went and blew yourself up and killed lots of people, you’d go to heaven. Religion can be so damaging. When I think of our attitude to animals in Genesis, where man is told that he has ‘dominion’ over the birds and the fish and the animals and so on — the actual word, I’m told, is not dominion, it’s stewardship. Which is very different.
NOTE: Lessons can also be used with native English speakers.
Level: Intermediate – Advanced
Language Skills: Reading, writing, and speaking. Vocabulary and grammar activities are included.
Time: Approximately 60 minutes.
Materials: Student handout (from this lesson) and access to news article.
Objective: Students will read and discuss the article with a focus on improving reading comprehension and improving oral skills. At the end of the lesson students will express their personal views on the topic through group work and writing.
I. Pre-Reading Activities
Predictions: Analyzing headings and photos
Directions: Examine the titles of the post and of the actual article. Examine any photos, then create a list of words and ideas that you and your group members think might be related to this article.
II. While Reading Activities
Directions: Try to infer the meanings of the words in bold taken from the article. You use a dictionary, thesaurus, and Word Chart for assistance.
- Goodall first found fame in the early 1960s for her work as a primatologist.
- Studying the chimpanzees of Gombe Stream National Park in Tanzania, she was the first to observe those animals using tools.
- Goodall is globally known as an activist.
- This is arguably her most important legacy.
- She has spent 44 years leading conservation efforts through her Jane Goodall Institute.
- Jane Goodall believes that we should be aware of all of the doom and gloom in the world.
- Traveling the world Jane has seen many projects of restoration.
- Many animal and plant species are being rescued from the brink of extinction.
- We should be aware of our ecological footprints.
- Some people have ideas about conservation that are too radical.
Grammar Focus: Structure and Usage
Directions: The following groups of sentences are from the article. One of the sentences in each group contains a grammatical error. Identify the sentence (1, 2, or 3 ) from each group that contains the grammatical error.
- We absolutely need to know all the doom and gloom.
- If you don’t have hope, why bother?
- People have to change gradually.
- Back in the 1970s I didn’t know about factory farms.
- Talk about how the issue is affecting you.
- people think out in the wild is utopia for animals.
- People often don’t think from the point of view of the animal.
- Chimps act on the spur of the moment.
- Chimps can be altruistic.
Reading Comprehension Fill-ins
Directions: Place students in groups and after they have read the entire article, have them complete the following sentences taken from the article. They can use the words and terms from the list provided, or provide their own terms. They are to find the meanings of any new vocabulary.
This___, who, as per ___name for him, had ___facial hair, was the ___one she observed at___ eating meat and using___. He also was the___ to___contact with her, ___the way for others in his___to do the same.
WORD LIST: group, paving, initiate , first, tools, Gombe, first, distinctive, chimp
III. Post Reading Activities
Directions: Have students use the WH-question format to discuss or to write the main points from the article.
Who or What is the article about?
Where does the action/event take place?
When does the action/event take place?
Why did the action/event occur?
How did the action/event occur?
Discussion Questions for Comprehension /Writing
Directions: Have students discuss the following questions/statements. Afterwards, students share their thoughts as a class. To reinforce the ideas, students can write an essay on one of the topics mentioned.
- Why does Ms. Goodall feel it necessary for us to be aware of the ‘doom and gloom’ printed in the media?
- According to Ms. Goodall which stories in the media deserve more attention from us?
- What do people generally think about animals out in the wild? What is the reality for these animals?
- Does Jane think chimps are evil?
- What is Goodall’s example of ‘evil’?
- Does Jane understand human nature?
- Do you understand human nature? Explain why or why not.
- Make a list of questions that you would like to ask Jane Goodall. Share them with the class.
- List three new ideas that you’ve learned about the topic from the reading, two things that you did not understand in the reading, and one thing you would like to know that the article did not mention. Share your responses with your class.
The article states that, “Jane Goodall first found fame in the early 1960s for her paradigm-busting work as a primatologist. Studying the chimpanzees of Gombe Stream National Park in Tanzania… While that work is likely to remain what the public primarily associates her with, Goodall’s career as an activist is arguably her more important legacy. She has spent 44 years leading conservation efforts through her Jane Goodall Institute and seeding the future with like-minded souls via the Roots & Shoots educational programs for young people.”
Directions: Students (in groups) might research Jane Goodall’s work with chimpanzees beginning with the Jane Goodall Institute website https://janegoodall.org/our-story/about-jane/
Next, students could visit Jane’s famous Roots and Shoots website https://www.rootsandshoots.org which offers a variety of projects for students.
After, groups can create graphs, pictures, collages, or models to demonstrate their understanding of Jane’s work with chimpanzees and with preserving our environment.