Article published In:
GestureVol. 22:1 (2023) ► pp.1–38
Weakest link or strongest link?
The effects of different types of linking gestures on learning
Teachers often use gestures to connect representations of mathematical ideas. This research examined (1) whether
such linking gestures help students understand connections among representations and (2) whether sets of gestures that include
repeated handshapes and motions – termed gestural catchments – are particularly beneficial. Undergraduates viewed
one of four video lessons connecting two representations of multiplication. In the control lesson, the instructor
produced beat gestures that did not link the representations. In the linkonly lesson, the instructor used
gestures to link representations, but the gestures did not form a catchment. In the consistentcatchment lesson,
the instructor highlighted corresponding elements of the two representations using identical gestures. In the
inconsistentcatchment lesson, the instructor highlighted noncorresponding elements of the two
representations using identical gestures. Participants who saw the lesson with the consistent catchment – which highlighted
similarities between representations – were most likely to understand the novel representation and to report learning from the
lesson.
Article outline
 Introduction
 Connecting representations in mathematics learning
 Linking gestures in math instruction
 Gestural catchments
 Catchments as linking gestures
 Teachers’ gestures and students’ metacognition
 The current study
 Method
 Participants
 Design
 Materials
 Warmup worksheet
 Video lesson
 Posttest
 Procedure
 Warmup
 Lesson
 Multiplication representations interview
 Posttest
 Additional task
 Final interview and selfevaluation of learning
 Demographic survey
 Coding
 Participant interview
 Verbal links
 Gestural links
 Written work
 Symbolicexpressiontoareamodel item
 Areamodeltolinemodel and symbolicexpressiontolinemodel items
 Linemodeltosymbolicexpression items
 Place value items
 Coding selfevaluations of learning
 Results
 Overview of analyses
 Preliminaries
 Did the instructor’s gestures influence participants’ descriptions of links between the area and line models?
 Did the instructor’s gestures influence participants’ performance on the written posttest?
 Symbolicexpressiontoareamodel item
 Areamodeltolinemodel items
 Symbolicexpressiontolinemodel items
 Linemodeltosymbolicexpression items
 Place value items
 Did the instructor’s gestures influence participants’ judgments about their learning of multidigit multiplication and place
value?
 Discussion
 Summary of results
 Theoretical significance
 Practical significance
 Limitations
 Future directions
 Conclusion

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