More gestures than answers: Children learning about balance
This research extends the range of domains within which children's gestures are found to play an important role in learning. The study involves children learning about balance and we locate children's gestures within a relevant model of cognitive development, the Representational Redescription Model (Karmiloff-Smith, 1992). We examined the speech and gestures of children explaining a balance task. Approximately one third of the children expressed one idea in speech and another in gesture. These children made significantly more learning gains than children whose gestures and speech matched. Children's gestures were an indicator, at pre-test, of readiness to learn and of cognitive gains. We conclude that children's gestures provide crucial insight into their cognitive state and illuminate the process of learning and representational change.