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Hand Gestures--Another Tool to Learning


In my weekly search around the various on-line education sites, I came across this post called Cracking a Secret Code to Learning: Hand Gestures from Mind/Shift.  It discussed the importance of gestures to assist teaching and learning.   In the post by Annie Murphy Paul, she says, 'The thoughts expressed by hand motions are often our newest and most advanced ideas about the problem we’re working on; we can’t yet assimilate these notions into language, but we can capture them in movement.'  

As a person who has worked alongside Deaf teachers and learners and as a person who has a passion for Universal Design for Learning and the belief of providing multiple ways of representation, expression and engagement for learners, I was intrigued. So I did some more searching and found some more examples of using hand gestures to aid learning.  

On the Teaching Channel, I found a video clip titled:  Hand Gestures:  Movements make math memorable. In this clip, children in a classroom in Great Britain use hand gestures to engage in maths and to assist in the retention and application of maths concepts.  It also allowed for the opportunity to foster confidence and to make thinking more visible.  Included on the site are links to an article and research report from the University of Chicago to support this idea.

 In the following clip, a three-year old girl named Isabella recites a poem, Sweet Dreams, by Joyce Armours.  Again the use of hand gestures assists Isabella in remembering the verses as well as gives the viewer visual cues to the words of the poem.   

I would be interested in other teachers who have noticed that using gestures as a tool has helped kids' engagement, representation ans expression.  

Food for thought!