Published Online: March 10, 2009
Published in Print: March 11, 2009, as The Power of Gestures

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The Power of Gestures

"Gesturing Gives Children New Ideas About Math"

Student gestures during mathematics lessons could have a connection to student achievement, a new studyRequires Adobe Acrobat Reader suggests. Children who were required to produce correct gestures by their math teachers showed stronger academic gains than those who gave only partially correct gestures, and more than those who were required to produce no gestures, according to the study, published in the February edition of the journal Psychological Science.

Researchers manipulated the various gestures used by the 3rd and 4th graders during problem-solving exercises and evaluated the results. The work was conducted by Susan Goldin-Meadow and Zachary A. Mitchell of the University of Chicago, and Susan Wagner Cook of the University of Iowa.

The findings suggest that body movements are related not only to processing old ideas, but also in creating new ones, the authors assert. "We may be able to lay foundations for new knowledge simply by telling learners how to move their hands," the study explains.

Vol. 28, Issue 24, Page 5

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