Talking about electricity: the importance of hearing gestures as well as words

Callinan, Carol (2015) Talking about electricity: the importance of hearing gestures as well as words. In: Insights from research in science teaching and learning: Book of Selected Paper from the ESERA 2013 Conference. Contributions from Science Education Research (2). Springer International, pp. 107-120. ISBN 9783319200736, 9783319200743

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Children’s gestures have been proposed to contain important cues and clues to their science ideas that may not be revealed in speech or written language. New and innovative research has begun to explore the way that these gestures can be used to inform on how children’s ideas for science concepts change. Such research is firmly embedded in a constructivist perspective (Driver et al 1994), which has a strong background of research exploring ‘alternative frameworks’ (Driver, Bell 1986) and proposals for the identification and understanding of the underlying mechanisms that support such conceptual change dynamics (Vosniadou 2008). Typically conceptual change literature accesses children’s knowledge largely through verbal reports (e.g. Primary SPACE Projects 1990-1994). Whilst these approaches have been successful in revealing what children know this bias towards language at the expense of other forms of communication may prevent a comprehensive understanding of knowledge growth (Goldin-Meadows 2000). This chapter discusses a recent study which explored the gestures that children used during discussions of their ideas about electricity and revealed that gestures can be categorised according to content (as highlighted in a pilot study by Callinan, Sharp 2011) and that the content of gestures can reveal elements of knowledge that is not verbalised in speech.

Keywords:Learning in Science, Constructivism, Conceptual Change, Multimodal research, Gesture
Subjects:X Education > X370 Academic studies in Education (across phases)
X Education > X300 Academic studies in Education
Divisions:College of Social Science > School of Education
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ID Code:19680
Deposited On:24 Feb 2016 16:19

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