You know, when I was still in school, and struggling with math, I frequently gestured at my math homework. However, it turns out, I was increasing my retention by flipping the bird at that derivative!
“Kids asked to physically gesture at math problems are nearly three times more likely than non-gesturers to remember what they’ve learned. In today’s issue of the journal Cognition, a University of Rochester scientist suggests it’s possible to help children learn difficult concepts by providing gestures as an additional and potent avenue for taking in information….
In her study, 90 percent of students who had learned algebraic concepts using gestures remembered them three weeks later. Only 33 percent of speech-only students who had learned the concept during instruction later retained the lesson. And perhaps most astonishing of all, 90 percent of students who had learned by gesture alone–no speech at all–recalled what they’d been taught.”
Ok, in this study, they were pointing, not making rude gestures. But still, that linking of motor to mental skills seems to have a huge payoff!
What a great example of a simple (free!) addition to instruction that can yield great results. The researcher plans to quantify more about what gestures work best.
(and how funny is it that Wikipedia has a page on the middle finger salute? :) )