More evidence of the value of gesture in teaching math

04/2013

A new study claims to provide ‘some of the strongest evidence yet’ for the benefits of gesturing to help students learn.

The study involved 184 children aged 7-10, of whom half were shown videos of an instructor teaching math problems using only speech, while the rest were shown videos of the instructor teaching the same problems using both speech and gestures. The problem involved mathematical equivalence (i.e., 4+5+7=__+7), which is known to be critical to later algebraic learning.

Students who learned from the gesture videos performed substantially better on a test given immediately afterward than those who learned from the speech-only video (average proportion correct around 42% vs 31% — approximations because I’m eyeballing the graph), and, unlike the speech-only group, showed further improvement on a test 24 hours later (around 46% vs 30%). They also showed stronger transfer to different problem types (35% vs 22%).

http://www.futurity.org/society-culture/to-teach-kids-math-keep-hands-mo...

[3377] Cook SW, Duffy RG, Fenn KM. Consolidation and Transfer of Learning After Observing Hand Gesture. Child Development [Internet]. 2013 :n/a - n/a. Available from: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/cdev.12097/abstract

Related News

I've reported before on studies showing how gesturing can help children with mathematics and problem-solving. A new Australian study involving children aged 9-13 has found that finger-tracing has a similar effect.

Data from 1,895 fourth and fifth grade children living in El Paso, Texas has found that those who were exposed to high levels of motor vehicle emissions had significantly lower GPAs, even when accounting for other factors known to influence school performance.

Several recent studies add to the evidence that physical fitness boosts cognitive processing in children.

A gene linked to Alzheimer's has been linked to brain changes in childhood.

A study involving 362 children with reading problems has found that 16 weeks of daily 600 mg supplements of omega-3 DHA from algal sources improved their sleep. According to a sleep questionnaire filled out by parents, 40% of these children had significant sleep problems.

A humanoid robot has been designed, and shows promise, for teaching joint attention to children with ASD. Robots are particularly appealing to children, and even more so to those with ASD.

A study involving 187 children and adolescents with multiple sclerosis, plus 44 who experienced their first neurologic episode (clinically isolated syndrome) indicative of MS, has found that 35% of those with MS and 18% of those with clinically isolated syndrome were cognitively impaired.

A study involving 180 13-year-olds who had been assessed every year since kindergarten has found that their understanding of the number system in first grade predicted functional numeracy more than six years later, but skill at using counting procedures to solve arithmetic problems did not.

"The general consensus is that math anxiety doesn't affect children much before fourth grade.” New research contests that.

There have been a number of studies in the past few years showing how poverty affects brain development and function.

Pages

Subscribe to Latest newsSubscribe to Latest newsSubscribe to Latest health news