While reading the articles assembled in this volume, one cannot help asking Why gestures? What’s all the fuss about them? In the last few years, the fuss is, indeed, considerable, and not just here, in this special issue, but also in research on learning and teaching at large. What changed? After all, gestures have been around ever since the birth of humanity, if not much longer, but until recently, not many students of human cognition seemed to care. In this commentary, while reporting on what I saw while scrutinizing this volume for an answer, I will share some thoughts on the relationship between gesturing and speaking and about their relative roles in mathematical thinking.
Over the last years, the focus on gestures in mathematics education research has been growing. Anna Sfard has now written an article that was published in Educational Studies in Mathematics a couple of days ago. The article has a focus on this particular field of research, and it is entitled: What’s all the fuss about gestures? A commentary. Here is the abstract: