Encyclopedia of Mathematics Education

2020 Edition
| Editors: Stephen Lerman

Gestures in Mathematics Education

  • Ornella RobuttiEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-15789-0_100042

Introduction to the Literature on Gesture

Gestures have been considered important in psychology from long ago, when Vygotsky (1978, p. 107) pointed out: “The gesture is the initial visual sign that contains the child’s future writing as an acorn contains a future oak. Gestures, it has been correctly said, are writing in air, and written signs frequently are simply gestures that have been fixed.” The richness of this affirmation has been recognized in later studies specifically on the role of gestures as related not only to communication but also to thinking and learning. Church and Goldin-Meadow (1986) found that frequent mismatches between gesture and speech in children’s production may indicate a heightened receptivity to instruction, namely, a-being-ready-to learn something. This thesis has been confirmed in later studies (Goldin-Meadow 2003, 2006). For example, in counting, active gestures help children both to keep track and to coordinate tagging the items, saying the number...


Gesture Deictic gesture Iconic gesture Metaphoric gesture Growth point Semiotic node Semiotic game Embodiment Multimodality 
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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Dipartimento di MatematicaUniversità di TorinoTorinoItaly

Section editors and affiliations

  • Stephen Lerman
    • 1
  1. 1.London South Bank UniversityLondonUK