Why does the ULAT attribute such importance to its gesture system?
After you have seen a word or expression presented by means of a moving or still image, you will see the instructor perform a gesture and hear him say a word or sentence corresponding to that gesture. It is important to insist that the student imitate that gesture and to do so every time the ULAT instructs them to repeat it. Why?
1. Performing a gesture or “motor activity” at the same time the student repeats a vocabulary word will enormously increase their retention of that word.
2. The gesture itself conveys the word’s meaning and enables the students to say and think of it without the need for inner translation to their native language.
3. The gestures enable students to review their vocabulary, and even some grammar, no matter where they are. They don’t need a book or their computer with them to review.
4. The gestures can be used by the teacher as “prompts”, allowing the teacher to guide a student when he or she is “stuck”. The guidance can be provided without the need for recourse to English and without providing the student with the answer, thus enabling the student to remain in control of his or her own speech.