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ERIC Number: EJ1051020
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2014-Dec
Pages: 24
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1338-1563
Gesture, Meaning-Making, and Embodiment: Second Language Learning in an Elementary Classroom
Rosborough, Alessandro
Journal of Pedagogy, v5 n2 p227-250 Dec 2014
The purpose of the present study was to investigate the mediational role of gesture and body movement/positioning between a teacher and an English language learner in a second-grade classroom. Responding to Thibault's (2011) call for understanding language through whole-body sense making, aspects of gesture and body positioning were analyzed for their role as mediational tools for meaning making during a math assignment. Analysis of the teacher-student dyad provides insight as to how they moved from simply exchanging answers to using positions and gestures to embody meaning and feelings, thus establishing strategic ways to solve communication problems in the future. A shift to embodying the communication task provided new meanings not previously afforded while sitting at a desk. Combining a Gibsonian (1979) ecological perspective with Vygotskian (1978, 1986) sociocultural theory provides a way to view the role of embodiment in the social practice of second language learning (van Lier, 2004). Findings provide evidence that gesture along with bodily positions and [inter]actions play a central role in this dyadic meaning-making experience. The data demonstrate the interactive nature of the semiotic resources of the activity (i.e., speech, gesture/hands, math graph, whiteboard), with their materialized bodily/speech-voiced acts coinciding with Thibault's (2004, 2011) explanation of human meaning-making activity as a hybrid phenomenon that includes a cross-coupled relationship between semiotic affordances and physical-material body activity. This perspective embraces Vygotsky's (1978, 1997a) view of dialectical development including the importance of psychological and materialized-physical tools such as gesture in dealing with language learning processes (McNeill, 2012).
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Education; Grade 2; Primary Education; Early Childhood Education
Audience: N/A
Language: N/A
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A