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Show and Tell: Using Students' Speech to Predict Dynamic Gesture Production During Proof

Thu, April 16, 12:00 to 1:30pm, Sheraton, Floor: Fourth Level, Chicago VI&VII


Many past studies of mathematical thinking and learning highlight the importance of gesture in reasoning and communication. This research explores the nature of speech that accompanies dynamic depictive gestures: gestures representing transformations of physical and conceptual objects through bodily movement. Prior work has shown that such gestures can contribute to valid proof production. Automated text analysis tools, Coh-Metrix and LIWC, helped identify discourse processes associated with dynamic gesture production during proof. Analyses found that speakers were more likely to produce dynamic gestures when using connective words and less likely to produce dynamic gestures when they made self-conscious statements articulating a lack of knowledge or poor comprehension. Implications are offered for classroom formative assessment and for theories of language and gesture.