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Research Findings on Gestures, Misconceptions, and Budding Engineers
This roundup in Principal recommends three brain-based strategies to try in classrooms:
• Encourage gestures. San Francisco State researchers found that 2-5 year-olds who used hand gestures while sorting cards by color and shape did better than older children who didn’t use gestures. A different study reported in Child Development’s spring issue found that grade 2-4 students learned new math concepts more quickly when their teachers used hand motions to illustrate concepts.
• Predict students’ mistakes. A study by Philip Sadler found that middle-school physical science teachers got better results when they anticipated what their students might get wrong before they began teaching. “This study demonstrates that for teachers, the ability to think like a student may be just as important as being thoroughly well-versed in content,” says the roundup author.
• Nurture young engineers. A Vanderbilt University study published in the July issue of Psychological Science found that 13-year-olds with strong spatial ability (they could mentally manipulate two-dimensional and three-dimensional figures) were much more likely to be high achievers down the road. “These students have exceptional and under-challenged potential, especially for engineering and technology,” says lead researcher David Lubinski. “We could do a much better job of identifying these students and affording them better opportunities for developing their talents.”
“3 Brain-Based Strategies to Try This Year” in Principal, September/October 2013 (Vol. 93, #1, p. 6-7), www.naesp.org
From the Marshall Memo #504