With Raised Hand
Researchers Mellissa Singer and Susan Goldin-Meadow have produced an unexpected result. Their goal was to study the impact on learning when math teachers use gestures along with verbal presentations.
The discovery: young students learn mathematics best in a problem-solving lesson when the teacher's gestures are not matched to verbal explanations of strategies. That is right: "The combination of hearing one problem-solving strategy in speech and seeing another in gesture fosters more math insight than speech and gestures describing the same strategy do...."
Unfortunately, the study does not say which alternative hand gestures are best...waving, pointing up, etc.
Source: Science News, 1/15/2005, pp. 36-37