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Illuminating mental representations-use of gestures in teaching and assessing understanding of college biology
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Paper presented at the International Science Education Conference, Singapore, 24-26 November 2009
Does nonverbal cues increase the propensity of teachers’ instructive discourse and at the same time assesses students’ cognitive construction of knowledge? The researches that attest to the effectiveness of gestures are by far those conducted on younger children. Few of such research have been done on college students and in Science subjects. As such a randomized pretest-posttest control group quasi-experimental design of 14 matched pairs were tasked to watch one of the two videotaped lessons on a topic in Biology. In the video-cum-slides-plus-gesture lesson, the teacher produced gestures to illustrate concepts while in the video-cum-slides-only lesson the teacher did not produce any gestures. In a post-test of 10 Multiple-Choice-Questions attempted by these 28 students, students who watched video-cum-slides-only lesson scored a mean of 7.6 while students who watched video-cum-slides-plus-gesture lesson scored a mean of 6.2. 7 of these matched pairs further underwent a feedback session with the teacher while the other 7 did not. A follow up test showed that students who had feedback given scored higher and progressed from a discordant stage of gesture-speech mismatch to the concordant stage of gesture-speech match of a right concept while those without feedback regressed.
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