Points to Ponder: Gesture and Language in Math Talk With the introduction of Common Core State Standards, mathematical learning and problem solving in the academic environment is more linguistically demanding. Speech-language pathologists (SLPs) can support students with language impairment and teachers charged with new curricular demands. The role of gestural communication as a support for children's math learning and ... Article
Article  |   March 01, 2015
Points to Ponder: Gesture and Language in Math Talk
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Lori Foran
    Department of Speech Pathology and Audiology, University of South Alabama, Mobile, AL
  • Brenda Beverly
    Department of Speech Pathology and Audiology, University of South Alabama, Mobile, AL
  • Financial Disclosure: Lori Foran is a doctoral student at the University of South Alabama. Brenda Beverly is an associate professor at the University of South Alabama.
    Financial Disclosure: Lori Foran is a doctoral student at the University of South Alabama. Brenda Beverly is an associate professor at the University of South Alabama.×
  • Nonfinancial Disclosure: Lori Foran has no nonfinancial interest related to the content of this article. Brenda Beverly has no nonfinancial interest related to the content of this article.
    Nonfinancial Disclosure: Lori Foran has no nonfinancial interest related to the content of this article. Brenda Beverly has no nonfinancial interest related to the content of this article.×
Article Information
Development / School-Based Settings / Research Issues, Methods & Evidence-Based Practice / Professional Issues & Training / Language Disorders / Attention, Memory & Executive Functions / Articles
Article   |   March 01, 2015
Points to Ponder: Gesture and Language in Math Talk
SIG 1 Perspectives on Language Learning and Education, March 2015, Vol. 22, 72-81. doi:10.1044/lle22.2.71
History: Received November 14, 2014 , Revised December 19, 2014 , Accepted December 22, 2014
SIG 1 Perspectives on Language Learning and Education, March 2015, Vol. 22, 72-81. doi:10.1044/lle22.2.71
History: Received November 14, 2014; Revised December 19, 2014; Accepted December 22, 2014

With the introduction of Common Core State Standards, mathematical learning and problem solving in the academic environment is more linguistically demanding. Speech-language pathologists (SLPs) can support students with language impairment and teachers charged with new curricular demands. The role of gestural communication as a support for children's math learning and as an instructional strategy during math education is reviewed. Findings are presented from a recent pilot study on the gesture and language production of 3-, 4- and 5-year- old children as they solve early arithmetic and fraction problems. Children spontaneously produced deictic and representational gestures that most often matched their spoken solutions. A few children exhibited gesture-speech mismatches in which the gesture contained semantic content not contained in the speech alone. This can suggest some underlying knowledge that would not be apparent without the gesture. Furthermore, the investigator introduced gestured prompts with some preschool participants using spontaneous gestures previously observed by successful peers. Gesture's role in early mathematic areas preceding kindergarten and specific gesturing strategies effective in the academic environment continue to be explored.

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