Gesturing May Not Always Make Learning Last

Caroline ByrdUniversity of Notre Dame
Nicole McNeilUniversity of Notre Dame
Sidney DMelloUniversity of Notre Dame
Susan CookUniversity of Iowa

Abstract

Studies suggest that mimicking specific gestures prior to math instruction facilitates learning. However, benefits could be due to the eye movements that accompany gesture, rather than to gesture per se. Children (M age = 8 yrs, 9 mos) who solved pretest equations incorrectly were taught a correct strategy for solving equations. They were randomly assigned to mimic gestures instantiating the strategy, the eye movements that accompany those gestures, or speech only prior to and during instruction. Children completed an immediate posttest and a 4-week follow-up test. We hypothesized that children in the eye movement and gesture conditions would retain more from instruction when compared to children in the speech only condition. Posttest performance was similar across conditions. Contrary to hypotheses, children in the gesture condition retained less from instruction when compared to children in the other conditions. Results suggest that there may not always be benefits of gesture during instruction.

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Gesturing May Not Always Make Learning Last (325 KB)



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