A study of the effects of teacher-performed gestures as a means of semantic elaboration on L2 word learning and retention


Ghasemi, Ehsan*
Islamic Azad University, Hajiabad Branch, Iran (ehsanghasemi2004@yahoo.com)

Feyzi Behnagh, Reza
University at Albany, SUNY, USA (rfeyzibehnagh@albany.edu)


The current study investigates the effects of semantic elaboration operationalized through teacher-performed gestures on L2 vocabulary learning and retention. Forty-two Persian-speaking Iranian university students learning English as a foreign language were randomly selected and assigned to two groups. They were presented with two sets of new English words (determined through a pretest) and were instructed to do their best to learn the words in the two conditions. One set consisted of word-translation pairs (control condition) and the other set consisted of word-translation pairs followed by a video showing the meaning of each word through gestures. Each participant was presented with every experimental word but in two different orders (counter-balancing). Then they were required to complete four recall tasks (i.e. free recall in English, free recall in Persian, cued recall in English, and delayed cued recall in English). The results of data analysis using repeated measures of ANOVA showed a negative effect of using gestures on free recall in English, a positive effect of using gestures on free recall in Persian, and no statistically significant effect of using gestures on cued recall and delayed cued recall in English. Based on the findings some pedagogical implications are provided.

Keywords: teacher-performed gestures; semantic elaboration; free recall; cued recall; delayed cued recall


DOI: https://doi.org/10.5861/ijrsll.2016.1491

*Corresponding Author