- Mar 2022
Goldin-Meadow has found, learners who produce such speech-gesture mismatches are especially receptive to instruction—ready to absorb andapply the correct knowledge, should a parent or teacher supply it.
gesture mismatch indicates reception to instruction
People can demonstrate a mismatch between what they gesture and what they say. This mismatch occurs both during development as well as in adulthood and can often be seen during problem solving. Susan Goldin-Meadow had research that indicates that learners who demonstrate this sort of gesture mismatch are more receptive to instruction.
Is there a way to encourage or force gesture mismatch as a means of improving pedagogy?
Research shows that we all engage in such “gestural foreshadowing,” in whichour hands anticipate what we’re about to say.
Research by Christian Heath indicates that in interpersonal communication that speakers gesture meaning before they form the related words and listeners begin nodding at the gestures before they hear the spoken words.
All of us, then, are effectively bilingual: we speak one or more languages, butwe are also fully fluent in gesture.
I'm reminded of how Academy Award winning film editor Walter Murch once told me that his first edit of a feature film was always done without any sound at all. If the motions and actions of the actors could communicate as much meaning as possible, then the spoken words would only help to supplement the storytelling.
linguists theorize that gesture was humankind’searliest language, flourishing long before the first word was spoken
Evolutionarily speaking many animals communicate via gesture (body movements, tail wagging, etc.), so it isn't a far stretch to declare that linguists would consider gesture to be a precursor to language.
On other occasions,gesture supplies meaning that is not found anywhere in the speaker’s words
Gesture can supply contextual meaning of a speaker's meaning that isn't found in their spoken words.
What potential implications might this have to famous examples of visual versus non-visual communication, specfically: - The Kennedy/Nixon debates in which television and radio audiences had different perceptions of who won or lost. - Donald J. Trump's speeches where his politicobabble could be construed to mean almost anything to any listener, but his gestures may sway the meaning to a more concrete meaning.