Using gestures and English as a Foreign Language vocabulary learning: Does gender make a difference?

2018 IJRSLL – Volume 7 Issue 3


Ghasemi, Ehsan*
Texas Tech University, USA (

Feyzi Behnagh, Reza
University at Albany, USA (


This study aimed at investigating possible gender differences of adult EFL learners in terms of the effects of semantic elaboration (operationalized through teacher-performed gestures) on memory for new words in English and words in native tongue. To achieve this goal, thirty male and thirty female university students were randomly selected and each of the groups went through the experiment separately. 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 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. Then they were required to complete two recall tasks (i.e. free recall in English, free recall in Persian). The results of data analysis using repeated measures of ANOVA (two-way and one-way) showed a negative effect of using gestures on free recall in English and a positive effect of using gestures on free recall in Persian for both groups. Based on the results some pedagogical implications are provided.

Keywords: semantic elaboration; English as a foreign language; free recall; gestures; word learning; gender



*Corresponding Author