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ERIC Number: EJ964171
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 40
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1050-8406
Embodiment in Mathematics Teaching and Learning: Evidence from Learners' and Teachers' Gestures
Alibali, Martha W.; Nathan, Mitchell J.
Journal of the Learning Sciences, v21 n2 p247-286 2012
Gestures are often taken as evidence that the body is involved in thinking and speaking about the ideas expressed in those gestures. In this article, we present evidence drawn from teachers' and learners' gestures to make the case that mathematical knowledge is embodied. We argue that mathematical cognition is embodied in 2 key senses: It is based in perception and action, and it is grounded in the physical environment. We present evidence for each of these claims drawn from the gestures that teachers and learners produce when they explain mathematical concepts and ideas. We argue that (a) "pointing" gestures reflect the grounding of cognition in the physical environment, (b) "representational" gestures manifest mental simulations of action and perception, and (c) some "metaphoric" gestures reflect body-based conceptual metaphors. Thus, gestures reveal that some aspects of mathematical thinking are embodied. (Contains 1 table, 3 footnotes and 12 figures.)
Routledge. Available from: Taylor & Francis, Ltd. 325 Chestnut Street Suite 800, Philadelphia, PA 19106. Tel: 800-354-1420; Fax: 215-625-2940; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
IES Funded: Yes
Grant or Contract Numbers: R305H060097