Teachers’ attitudes about gesture for learning and instruction
We developed and tested a survey instrument to measure teachers’ attitudes about gesture in learning and instruction (TAGLI). Teachers (N = 192) generally believed that instructional gestures are beneficial for learning, and not distracting for students. Teachers had positive expectations, both for gestures that are redundant with (i.e., match) the accompanying speech, and gestures that are complementary to (i.e., mismatch) speech. However, teachers’ attitudes varied with teachers’ grade bands (middle v. high school) and curricular content areas (STEM v. non-STEM). Teachers endorsed a range of reasons for gesture’s pedagogical effectiveness. These reasons largely mirror the reasons teachers reported for why they produced gestures: gestures help make connections between representations and ideas, make abstract concepts more concrete, and they appropriately direct learners’ attention. Teachers reported that they frequently use gestures while teaching, explaining, and in everyday conversation.