- May 2023
Broadly an extended excerpt of François Caradec's Dictionary of Gestures.
- Mar 2022
Hands can be a prompt, a window, a way station—butwhat they ought never have to be is still.
Missing reference in this chapter on encouraging gestures as a tool for thought: "idle hands are the devil's workshop".
Could the Bible have been encouraging the use of one's hands for communication??
To signify that an angle is acute, Jeffreys taught them, “make Pac-Man withyour arms.” To signify that it is obtuse, “spread out your arms like you’re goingto hug someone.” And to signify a right angle, “flex an arm like you’re showingoff your muscle.” For addition, bring two hands together; for division, make akarate chop; to find the area of a shape, “motion as if you’re using your hand asa knife to butter bread.”
Math teacher Brendan Jeffreys from the Auburn school district in Auburn, WA created simple hand gestures to accompany or replace mathematical terms. Examples included making a Pac-Man shape with one's arms to describe an acute angle, spreading one's arms wide as if to hug someone to indicate an obtuse angle, or flexing your arm to show your muscles to indicate a right triangle. Other examples included a karate chop to indicate division or a motion imitating using a knife to butter bread to indicate finding the area of a shape.
Washington State mathteacher Brendan Jeffreys turned to gesture as a way of easing the mental loadcarried by his students, many of whom come from low-income households,speak English as a second language, or both. “Academic language—vocabularyterms like ‘congruent’ and ‘equivalent’ and ‘quotient’—is not something mystudents hear in their homes, by and large,” says Jeffreys, who works for theAuburn School District in Auburn, a small city south of Seattle. “I could see thatmy kids were stumbling over those words even as they were trying to keep trackof the numbers and perform the mathematical operations.” So Jeffreys devised aset of simple hand gestures to accompany, or even temporarily replace, theunfamiliar terms that taxed his students’ ability to carry out mental math.
Mathematics can often be more difficult compared to other subjects as students learning new concepts are forced not only to understand entirely new concepts, but simultaneously are required to know new vocabulary to describe those concepts. Utilizing gestures to help lighten the cognitive load of the new vocabulary to allow students to focus on the concepts and operations can be invaluable.
A familiar example ofsuch offloading is the way young children count on their fingers when workingout a math problem. Their fingers “hold” an intermediate sum so that their mindsare free to think about the mathematical operation they must execute (addition,subtraction) to reach the final answer.
Children counting on their fingers is an example of offloading cognitive load by using proprioception.
Different cultures use different finger sequences (particularly for the number 3) for counting up.
designed gestures can lighten our mentalload.
Designed (or intentional) gestures can function to lighten the cognitive load of teaching by engaging multiple pathways simultaneously.
Evaluations of the platform show that users who follow the avatar inmaking a gesture achieve more lasting learning than those who simply hear theword. Gesturing students also learn more than those who observe the gesture butdon’t enact it themselves.
Manuela Macedonia's research indicates that online learners who enact specific gestures as they learn words learn better and have longer retention versus simply hearing words. Students who mimic these gestures also learn better than those who only see the gestures and don't use them themselves.
How might this sort of teacher/avatar gesturing be integrated into online methods? How would students be encouraged to follow along?
Could these be integrated into different background settings as well to take advantage of visual memory?
Anecdotally, I remember some Welsh phrases from having watched Aran Jones interact with his cat outside on video or his lip syncing in the empty spaces requiring student responses. Watching the teachers lips while learning can be highly helpful as well.
In a study published in 2020, for example, Macedonia and a group of sixcoauthors compared study participants who had paired new foreign-languagewords with gestures to those who had paired the learning of new words withimages of those words. The researchers found evidence that the motor cortex—the area of the brain that controls bodily movement—was activated in thegesturing group when they reencountered the vocabulary words they hadlearned; in the picture-viewing group, the motor cortex remained dormant. The“sensorimotor enrichment” generated by gesturing, Macedonia and hercoauthors suggest, helps to make the associated word more memorable
Manuela Macedonia and co-authors found that pairing new foreign words with gestures created activity in the motor cortex which helped to improve the associative memory for the words and the movements. Using images of the words did not create the same motor cortex involvement.
It's not clear which method of association is better, at least as written in The Extended Mind. Was one better than the other? Were they tested separately, together, and in a control group without either? Surely one would suspect that using both methods together would be most beneficial.
proprioceptive cue may be the mostpowerful of the three: research shows that making gestures enhances our abilityto think even when our gesturing hands are hidden from our view.
Annie Murphy Paul indicates that proprioceptive associations may be more powerful than auditory or visual ones as she notes that "research shows that making gestures enhances our ability to think even when our gesturing hands are hidden from our view."
This is something that could be researched and analyzed.
My personal experience is that visual >> auditory >> smell >> proprioception. Smell with respect to memory is incredibly difficult to exercise as are auditory method. Visual and proprioceptive methods are easier to actively practice though.
There isthe auditory hook: we hear ourselves saying the words aloud. There is the visualhook: we see ourselves making the relevant gesture. And there is the“proprioceptive” hook; this comes from feeling our hands make the gesture
Gestural mnemonic associations work on three levels: auditory associations, visual associations, and proprioceptive associations.
Designed gestures offer another benefit as well: they are especially effectiveat reinforcing our memory.
Intentional gestures can be used as mnemonic devices as the movement can be associated with things we wish to remember.
S CLEAR THAT spontaneous gestures can support intelligent thinking. There’salso a place for what we might call designed gestures: that is, motions that arecarefully formulated in advance to convey a particular notion. Geologist MicheleCooke’s gestures, inspired by sign language, fall into this category; she verydeliberately uses hand movements to help students understand spatial conceptsthat are difficult to communicate in words.
There are two potential axes for gestures: spontaneous and intentional. Intentional gestures include examples like sign language, memetic pantomimes, and dance or related animal mimicry gestures used by indigenous cultures for communicating the movement and behavior of animals.
Intentional gestures can also be specifically designed for pedagogical purposes as well as for mnemonic purposes.
cross reference to Lynne Kelly example about movement/gesture in indigenous cultures.
In a study carried out by Susan Goldin-Meadow and colleagues at theUniversity of Chicago, a group of adults was recruited to watch video recordingsof children solving conservation problems, like the water-pouring task weencountered earlier. They were then offered some basic information aboutgesture: that gestures often convey important information not found in speech,and that they could attend not only to what people say with their words but alsoto what they “say” with their hands. It was suggested that they could payparticular attention to the shape of a hand gesture, to the motion of a handgesture, and to the placement of a hand gesture. After receiving these simpleinstructions, study subjects watched the videos once more. Before the briefgesture training, the observing adults identified only around 30 to 40 percent ofinstances when children displayed emerging knowledge in their gestures; afterreceiving the training, their hit rate shot up to about 70 percent.
Concentrating on the shape, motion, and placement of hand gestures dramatically help a learner to more concretely understand material and understanding in others.
Link this to the use of movement in dance with respect to memory in Lynne Kelly's work.
The use of gesture supplies a temporary scaffold that supports theseundergraduates’ still wobbly understanding of the subject as they fix theirknowledge more firmly in place.
Gesturing supplies a visual scaffolding which allows one to affix their budding understanding of new concepts into a more permanent structure.
people are more likely to gesturewhen they have something to gesture at.
The study’s authors suggest that this discrepancy may emerge fromdifferences in boys’ and girls’ experience: boys are more likely to play withspatially oriented toys and video games, they note, and may become morecomfortable making spatial gestures as a result. Another study, this oneconducted with four-year-olds, reported that children who were encouraged togesture got better at rotating mental objects, another task that draws heavily onspatial-thinking skills. Girls in this experiment were especially likely to benefitfrom being prompted to gesture.
The gender-based disparity of spatial thinking skills between boys and girls may result from the fact that at an early age boys are more likely to play with spatially oriented toys and video games. Encouraging girls to do more spatial gesturing at an earlier age can dramatically close this spatial thinking gap.
Even adults, when asked to gesture more, respond byincreasing their rate of gesture production (and consequently speak morefluently); when teachers are told about the importance of gesturing to studentlearning, and encouraged to make more gestures during instruction, theirstudents make greater learning gains as a result.
It's been shown that merely asking people to gesture more will increase their rates of gesturing. In educational settings this improves both teachers' instruction methods as well as the learning and retention by students.
A simple request to “move your handsas you explain that” may be all it takes. For children in elementary school, forexample, encouraging them to gesture as they work on math problems leadsthem to discover new problem-solving strategies—expressed first in their handmovements—and to learn more successfully the mathematical concept understudy.
Given the benefits of gesturing, teachers can improve their pedagogy simply by encouraging their students to move their hands while explaining things or working on problems.
Studies with elementary school children have shown that if they gesture while solving math problems led them to discover and understand new concepts and problem solving strategies.
link this with prior idea of handwriting out annotations/notes as well as drawing and sketchnoting ideas from lectures
Students reviewing over Cornell notes also be encouraged to use their hands while answering their written review questions.
Research suggeststhat making these motions will improve our own performance: people who
gesture as they teach on video, it’s been found, speak more fluently and articulately, make fewer mistakes, and present information in a more logical and intelligible fashion.
Teachers who gesture as they teach have been found to make fewer mistakes, speak more fluently/articulately, and present their lessons in a more intelligible and logical manner.
Yet the most popular and widely viewed instructional videos available onlinelargely fail to leverage the power of gesture, according to a team ofpsychologists from UCLA and California State University, Los Angeles. Theresearchers examined the top one hundred videos on YouTube devoted toexplaining the concept of standard deviation, an important topic in the study ofstatistics. In 68 percent of these recordings, they report, the instructor’s handswere not even visible. In the remaining videos, instructors mostly used theirhands to point or to make emphatic “beat” gestures. They employed symbolicgestures—the type of gesture that is especially helpful in conveying abstractconcepts—in fewer than 10 percent of the videos reviewed.
Symbolic gestures, which are the most valuable for relaying abstract information, are some of the least seen in online digital pedagogy. Slightly more frequent are "beat" gestures that are used for emphatic emphasis, while in the majority of studied online instructional videos the lecturers hands aren't seen on the video at all.
A number ofstudies have demonstrated that instructional videos that include gesture producesignificantly more learning for the people who watch them: viewers direct theirgaze more efficiently, pay more attention to essential information, and morereadily transfer what they have learned to new situations. Videos that incorporategesture seem to be especially helpful for those who begin with relatively littleknowledge of the concept being covered; for all learners, the beneficial effect ofgesture appears to be even stronger for video instruction than for live, in-personinstruction.
Gestures can help viewers direct their attention to the most salient and important points in a conversation or a lecture. As a result, learning has been show to be improved in watching lectures with gestures.
Learning using gestures has been shown to be stronger in video presentations over in-person instruction.
In one study, subjects who had watched a videotapedspeech were 33 percent more likely to recall a point from the talk if it wasaccompanied by a gesture. This effect, detected immediately after the subjectsviewed the recording, grew even more pronounced with the passage of time:thirty minutes after watching the speech, subjects were more than 50 percentmore likely to remember the gesture-accompanied points.
People are more likely to remember points from talks that are accompanied by gestures. This effect apparently increases with time.
What does the effect of time have on increased lengths? Does it continue to increase and then decrease at some point? Anecdotally I often recall quotes and instances from movies based on movements that I make.
What effects, if any, are seen in studies of mirror-neurons and those with impairment of them? What memory effects might be seen with those on the autism spectrum who don't have strong mirror-neuron responses? If this is impaired, what might account for their improved memories for some types of material? Which types of material do they have improved memories for?
Is the same true of drawing points from a speech using the ideas of sketchnotes? Is drawing an extension of gestural improvement of memory?
Research shows that moving our hands advances our understanding ofabstract or complex concepts, reduces our cognitive load, and improves ourmemory.
movement and gesture as a mnemonic device
Cooke often employs a modified form of sign language with her (hearing)students at UMass. By using her hands, Cooke finds, she can accurately capturethe three-dimensional nature of the phenomena she’s explaining.
Can gesturing during (second) language learning help dramatically improve the speed and facility of the second language acquisition by adult learners?
Evidence in language acquisition in children quoted previously in The Extended Mind would indicate yes.
link this related research
People who are fluent in sign language, as Cooke is, have beenfound to have an enhanced ability to process visual and spatial information. Suchsuperior performance is exhibited by hearing people who know sign language, aswell as by the hearing impaired—suggesting that it is the repeated use of astructured system of meaning-bearing gestures that helps improve spatialthinking.
Evidence indicates that those who are have experience or fluency in sign language (both hearing and non-hearing) have increased visual-spatial intelligence and reasoning. Practice using gesturing directly improves spatial thinking.
“penetrative thinking.” This is the capacity to visualize and reason about theinterior of a three-dimensional object from what can be seen on its surface—acritical skill in geology, and one with which many students struggle.
Penetrative thinking is the ability to abstractly consider and internally visualize or theorize about the inside of a three dimensional object based on what can be seen on its surface.
Penetrative thinking can be useful in areas like geology and anatomy.
Improvements in penetrative thinking can be exercised, encouraged, and improved by using gestures.
Students learning about geology for the first time can also benefit from usinggesture.
Geology is a solid example of an area in which gesture can be used in teaching the subject, by using the hands to indicate the movements of one mass against another.
Research shows that people who are asked to write on complex topics,instead of being allowed to talk and gesture about them, end up reasoning lessastutely and drawing fewer inferences.
Should active reading, thinking, and annotating also include making gestures as a means of providing more clear reasoning, and drawing better inferences from one's material?
Would gestural movements with a hand or physical writing be helpful in annotation over digital annotation using typing as an input? Is this related to the anecdotal evidence/research of handwriting being a better method of note taking over typing?
Could products like Hypothes.is or Diigo benefit from the use of digital pens on screens as a means of improving learning over using a mouse and a keyboard to highlight and annotate?
Gesturing also increases as afunction of difficulty: the more challenging the problem, and the more optionsthat exist for solving it, the more we gesture in response.
When presented with problems people are prone to gesture more with the increasing challenges of those problems. The more ways there are to solve a particular problem, the more gesturing one is likely to do.
What sort of analysis could one do on politicians who gesture their speech with relation to this? For someone like Donald J. Trump who floats balloons (ideas--cross reference George Lakoff) in his speeches, is he actively gesturing in an increased manner as he's puzzling out what is working for an audience and what isn't? Does the gesturing decrease as he settles on the potential answers?
Gesture encourages experimentation.”
Can teachers encourage gesture as a means of helping their students learn? How might this be done?
Goldin-Meadow has found, learners who produce such speech-gesture mismatches are especially receptive to instruction—ready to absorb andapply the correct knowledge, should a parent or teacher supply it.
gesture mismatch indicates reception to instruction
People can demonstrate a mismatch between what they gesture and what they say. This mismatch occurs both during development as well as in adulthood and can often be seen during problem solving. Susan Goldin-Meadow had research that indicates that learners who demonstrate this sort of gesture mismatch are more receptive to instruction.
Is there a way to encourage or force gesture mismatch as a means of improving pedagogy?
Studies show that children whose parents gesture a lot proceed togesture frequently themselves, and eventually to acquire expansive spoken-wordvocabularies.
Studies show the importance of gesturing in developing children as a precursor to language. Adults who gesture more have children who gesture more as well. There also seems to be a direct correlation to the gestural vocabulary of children at 14 months and their verbal vocabulary at 4 and 1/2 years of age.
Children can typically understand and act on a request to point to theirnose, for example, a full six months before they are able to form the spokenword “nose.”
Many children are also able to begin using sign language for their needs prior to being able to use spoken language as well.
gesture is often scorned as hapless“hand waving,” or disparaged as showy or gauche.
The value of gesture is sometimes disparaged with the phrase "handy waving".
Some of this statement is misleading as a hand waving argument relies solely on the movement of the hands as "proof" of something which is neither communicated well with the use of either words or the physical hand movements. The communication fails on both axes, but the blame is placed on the gestural portion of the communication, perhaps because it may have been the more important of the two?
Link this to the example of the Riverside teacher who used both verbal and visual gestures and acting to cement the trigonometry ideas of soh, cah, toa to her students and got fired for it. In her example, the gauche behaviour was overamplified by extreme exaggeration as well as racist expression.
“symbolic gestures”—movementsthat capture the overall meaning of the speaker’s message—along with what arecalled “beat gestures”: hand motions that serve to punctuate a particular point.
There are two broad types of gestures: - symbolic gestures: movements that help to capture the semantic meaning of one's message; - beat gestures which serve to punctuate one's points.
Are there other gesture types or classifications? Is there research on the perceived ability of actors who perform these techniques? What about small facial movements like eyebrows which may serve these functions as well.
Relate to micro facial movement research as means of communicating emotion.
Jean Clarke, a professor of entrepreneurship and organization at EmlyonBusiness School in France, has spent years watching entrepreneurs like GabrielHercule make their case at demo days, incubators, and investment forums acrossEurope. In a study published in 2019, she and her colleagues reported thatcompany founders who deployed “the skilled use of gesture” in their pitcheswere 12 percent more likely to attract funding for their new ventures.
Researcher Jean Clarke's research (2019) indicates that entrepreneurs who employ "the skilled use of gesture" are 12 percent more likely to have their pitches funded than those who don't.
Perhaps most important, gesture generates the sense that an asyet immaterial enterprise is a palpable reality in the present moment
Gesture used in communication has the ability to conjure or imply the immediate physical presence of ideas or objects that are otherwise either distant or which don't yet exist.
gesture isimpressionistic and holistic, conveying an immediate sense of how things lookand feel and move.
Gestures provide a powerful and immediate sense of how things look, feel, and move and provide facilities that can't be matched by spoken communication.
Link this to the idea of dance being used in oral cultures to communicate the movement of animals, particularly in preparation for hunting. cross reference: Songlines and Knowledge and Power by Lynne Kelly
Link to [[a picture is worth a thousand words]]
- tools for thought
- mnemonic techniques
- handwriting vs. typing
- proprioceptive memory
- mathematics definitions
- Donald J. Trump
- embodied cognition
- mirror neurons
- intentional gestures
- teaching styles
- open questions
- learning methods
- auditory memory
- external scaffolding
- long-term memory
- visual memory
- digital pedagogy
- child development
- floating balloons
- gender disparities
- sign language
- symbolic gestures
- Lynne Kelly
- beat gestures
- spontaneous gestures
- a picture is worth a thousand words
- problem solving
- Manuela Macedonia
- learning techniques
- spatial thinking
- Cornell notes
- hand waving
- active reading
- note taking methods
- venture capital
- memory training
- George Lakoff
- pedagogical devices
- spatial fluency
- gesture mismatch
- olfactive memory
- lip reading
- penetrative thinking
- gender bias
- mnemonic devices
- spatial relationships
- video versus in-person instruction
- language acquisition
- associative memory
- cognitive load
- language pedagogy
- idle hands are the devil's workshop
- Sep 2021
Small motions are so important that Paul devotes an entire chapter to the value of gestures. “Gestures,” she says, “don’t merely echo or amplify spoken language; they carry out cognitive and communicative functions that language can’t touch” (69). Gestures strengthen our ability to give form to thoughts, they increase the effectiveness of communication, they help groups understand each other, they create and direct attention.
This likely underlies some of the thoughts I've had about dance and movement and which are touched on by indigenous cultures as documented in Lynne Kelly's work.
- Feb 2019
very vuricty of o
Interesting here the interconnectedness of language and the body -- an embodied rhetoric. Physical gestures find root in classical rhetoric, but this seems to be the most explicit example of it in the readings we've encountered so far in this class.
As kmurphy1 has noted, there's also a move to contextualize rhetoric and language against growing interests in the (literal) mechanics of the body. Astell makes a similar pivot with her use of the word "Particles" to describe aspects of language and her machine-body metaphor.
- Feb 2017
hey arc actions attached to ideas
I feel as if all gestures have ideas attached to them, intentional and accidental. Just think about when an awkward kid is giving a speech, he or she delivers different gestures that are not intentional like rubbing his or her leg or stuttering. These actions very much carry ideas such as being uncomfortable or unprepared.