Saturday, March 14, 2009

more on gesture

More research on gesture from the Susan Goldin-Meadow Gesture Laboratory at the University of Chicago illustrates the close relationship between hand and mind and the use of the hands in the demonstration and development of intelligence. According to the article in Science News, Kids' Gestures foretell Better Vocabularies Children's use of gestures at an early age is is an important building block in later academic success. First is gesture, then comes higher vocabularies and then greater success in schools. If the case for hands in schools were a 5-board bench, we could see that each board is cut and sanded to perfection and the nails are driven home. But of course, getting real changes in place requires that every teacher and school administrator in America rethink their profession to allow for total engagement of the hands.

I have called for an affirmative action program for the hands, allowing hands-on thinkers to the top of the academic world, and changes to core curricula in the major universities to engage all students in work with their hands.

OK, so I'm a dreamer. In the words of John Lennon, I know I'm not the only one.
Research from Goldin-Meadow's team also suggests that gesturing may encourage children to think more creatively by bringing out new ideas and improving clarity. By manipulating how much children gestured, researchers gauged the influence of gesturing. Older children told to gesture while solving math problems on a chalkboard got the answer right more frequently than children who were told not to gesture. “These gestures are not mere hand waving. Kids are extracting meaning from gestures,” says Goldin-Meadow. “The educational relevance could be fabulous."
Thanks Joe Barry for alerting me to the article.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Your slipping Doug, John Lennon is who you mean. Although he would have loved to be compared to Lenin.
Yoko Ono (Not really)