Assessing knowledge conveyed in gesture: Do teachers have the upper hand?

Alibali, M. W., Flevares, L. M., & Goldin-Meadow, S. (1997). Assessing knowledge conveyed in gesture: Do teachers have the upper hand? Journal of Educational Psychology, 89(1), 183-193. doi:10.1037/0022-0663.89.1.183.
Children's gestures can reveal important information about their problem-solving strategies. This study investigated whether the information children express only in gesture is accessible to adults not trained in gesture coding. Twenty teachers and 20 undergraduates viewed videotaped vignettes of 12 children explaining their solutions to equations. Six children expressed the same strategy in speech and gesture, and 6 expressed different strategies. After each vignette, adults described the child's reasoning. For children who expressed different strategies in speech and gesture, both teachers and undergraduates frequently described strategies that children had not expressed in speech. These additional strategies could often be traced to the children's gestures. Sensitivity to gesture was comparable for teachers and undergraduates. Thus, even without training, adults glean information, not only from children's words but also from their hands.
Publication type
Journal article
Publication date
1997

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