Children’s gestures and the embodied knowledge of geometry

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Title Children’s gestures and the embodied knowledge of geometry
Author Kim, Mijung; Roth, Wolff-Michael; Thom, Jennifer
Journal Name International Journal of Science and Mathematics Education
Year Published 2011
Place of publication Netherlands
Publisher Springer
Abstract There is mounting research evidence that contests the metaphysical perspective of knowing as mental process detached from the physical world. Yet education, especially in its teaching and learning practices, continues to treat knowledge as something that is necessarily and solely expressed in ideal verbal form. This study is part of a funded project that investigates the role of the body in knowing and learning mathematics. Based on a 3-week (15 1-h lessons) video study of 1-s grade mathematics classroom (N = 24), we identify 4 claims: (a) gestures support children’s thinking and knowing, (b) gestures co-emerge with peers’ gestures in interactive situations, (c) gestures cope with the abstractness of concepts, and (d) children’s bodies exhibit geometrical knowledge. We conclude that children think and learn through their bodies. Our study suggests to educators that conventional images of knowledge as being static and abstract in nature need to be rethought so that it not only takes into account verbal and written languages and text but also recognizes the necessary ways in which children’s knowledge is embodied in and expressed through their bodies.
Peer Reviewed Yes
Published Yes
Alternative URI http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10763-010-9240-5
Volume 9
Issue Number 1
Page from 207
Page to 238
ISSN 1571-0068
Date Accessioned 2012-02-24; 2012-04-10T22:45:32Z
Date Available 2012-04-10T22:45:32Z
Faculty Arts, Education and Law
Subject Mathematics and Numeracy Curriculum and Pedagogy
URI http://hdl.handle.net/10072/44366
Publication Type Journal Articles (Refereed Article)
Publication Type Code c1x

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