Gesture-mediated math instruction: exploring the path from associative to deliberative thinking

1.1 Social, cultural, linguistic and educational mediation
Paper in a Symposium (Symp)
2:50 PM, Tuesday 29 Aug 2017 (40 minutes)
Afternoon Refreshments   03:30 PM to 03:50 PM (20 minutes)
This presentation will discuss research in progress on how mastering gesture-mediated math problem solving can contribute to students’ development from associative to deliberative thinking. As a team of researchers with varied backgrounds in educational assessment, mathematics, special education, and cultural-historical psychology, we came together to explore gesture as a tool to improve mathematical comprehension. As we narrowed our topic to only include how gesture, specifically tracing of instructor gestures by students in the late elementary-early middle school curriculum, influences associative thinking during problem solving, we realized the theoretical foundation of our research is fragmented over disparate fields and dimensions of gesture research studies. In response, first, we established an ontology or framework for mathematical gesture studies delineating concepts, information, and universal ideas within the field of mathematics 8 that enabled characterizing research questions and methodological attributes across studies. Our framework provides a common set of constructs for defining varied uses of gesture, for culturally, linguistically, and academically diverse students. With this systematization comes an archive of effect sizes contributing to the maturation of the framework. Preliminary findings suggest most empirical studies examining gesture and mathematics utilize a Vygotskian sociocultural theoretical framework and include embodiment, gesture, by a teacher and student in varied classroom. In turn, we designed and implemented a small study grounded in the common use of gesture as a meditational tool for teaching and learning. Specifically, we examined the impact of tracing instructor gestures by students with mild cognitive impairments in the general education classroom on their ability to solve middle school mathematics problems that require deliberative rather than associative thinking.
SRI International
SRI International
Touro Graduate School of Education
Touro College

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