Teacher’s hand gestures boost math learning

  • PTI, Washington
  • |
  • Updated: Apr 01, 2013 12:56 IST

Students learn better when their teachers use hand gestures — a simple teaching tool that could yield benefits in higher-level math such as algebra — according to a new study.

The study, published in journal Child Development, provides some of the strongest evidence yet that gesturing may have a unique effect on learning.

“Gesturing can be a very beneficial tool that is completely free and easily employed in classrooms,” said Kimberly Fenn, study co-author and assistant professor of psychology at Michigan State University.

Fenn and Ryan Duffy of MSU and Susan Cook of the University of Iowa conducted an experiment with 184 second-, third- and fourth-graders.

Half of the students were shown videos of an instructor teaching math problems using only speech. Students who learned from the gesture videos performed better on a test given immediately afterward than those who learned from the speech-only video.

 

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