Do teachers’ gestures affect children’ s comprehension of storytelling?

Do teachers’ gestures affect children’ s comprehension of storytelling?

First Author: HsinYing Chien -- National Taitung University
Additional authors/chairs: 
Foner Fu
Keywords: Gestures, Vocabulary, Comprehension, storytelling
Abstract / Summary: 

Purpose:
Teachers often gesture with their hands when they read stories to children and attract children’s attention. Previous studies showed that hand gestures carried plenty of descriptive or semantic information when teachers tell stories (Chien & Lien, 2014). The purposes of this study was to investigate how teachers’ hand gestures affected children’s different levels of story understanding and to examine whether teachers’ hand gesture facilitate children’s comprehension.

Method:
Forty-eight kindergarteners were recruited from one school in Miaoli, Taiwan. All participants were divided into either the experimental or the control group. Three picture books were adopted as storytelling materials. Children in the experimental group received a gesture-embedded storytelling program, with four types of hand gestures, including iconic, metaphoric, movement and information. In the control group, the teacher produced no hand gestures during the storytelling. All children were given a parallel comprehension assessment before and after storytelling.

Results/conclusions:
The results revealed that the experimental group outperformed than the control group on the total number of word learning. In the experimental group, there was a significant growth between the pretest and posttest scores, whereas in the control group there was very limited growth. Childrenwho were in the experimental group recognized 76.2% target words and phrases, whereas those who were in the control group recognized only 42.6%. Finally, the effectiveness of the gesture-embedded storytelling program did help convey meaning, especially when explaining concrete concepts and information.