Why do gestures matter?

Luis Radford has written an article that was recently published online in Educational Studies in Mathematics. The article is concerned with aspects related to” the role of gestures and bodily actions in the learning of mathematics”, and the article provides some interesting theoretical perspectives together with some practical examples. The article is entitled: Why do gestures matter? Sensuous cognition and the palpability of mathematical meaning, and here is the abstract:

The goal of this article is to present a sketch of what, following the German social theorist Arnold Gehlen, may be termed “sensuous cognition.” The starting point of this alternative approach to classical mental-oriented views of cognition is a multimodal “material” conception of thinking. The very texture of thinking, it is suggested, cannot be reduced to that of impalpable ideas; it is instead made up of speech, gestures, and our actual actions with cultural artifacts (signs, objects, etc.). As illustrated through an example from a Grade 10 mathematics lesson, thinking does not occur solely in the head but also in and through a sophisticated semiotic coordination of speech, body, gestures, symbols and tools.

Luis Radford is a distinguished scholar, and he has published a large number of important articles over the years. If you want to read more about his work, you should visit his list of publications. Most of his articles are freely available in pdf-format!

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