Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Gestures "count" in pronunciation teaching!

Clip art: 
New study by Fenn and Duffy of Michigan State University and Cook of University of Iowa, summarized by Science Daily, demonstrates that using gestures as a teacher--at least in 4th grade match--results in better learning for students. (Other research has detected the same tendency in one-on-one tutoring as well.) In the study, the focus was an algebra equation. The "gesture" group saw an instructor gesture with one hand, mirror image, to the side of the equation being talked about as it happened. The control group was just "talked to."

They (not surprisingly) offer no explanation as to what may have been behind the striking difference in post treatment testing between the groups, but they do offer three near breath-taking observations ". . . Gesturing can be a very beneficial tool that is completely free and easily employed in classrooms . . . I think it can have long-lasting effects . . . Teachers in the United States tend to use gestures less than teachers in other countries."

The study used "deictic" gestures (pointing at something physically present or conceptual). It is still an interesting piece of evidence. (They could, of course, have tested the main effect by having another group that did not see a gesturing instructor but were, instead, provided with left or right pointing graphic arrows superimposed on the screen.) Just thought I'd point that out . . .

In AH-EPS all pedagogical movement patterns involve deictic anchoring in the visual field as well. That  has to count for something, eh?

No comments:

Post a Comment