Embodied Responsive Teaching

In STEM education, scholars have found that it is important for teachers to elicit, attend, and respond to the ideas that students share about science and mathematics. We investigate how teachers do this when students share their ideas not just with words but also with their hands and whole bodies.

Below are some of the embodied responsive teaching strategies we have documented:

Eliciting students’ use of gesture:

When students share ideas that are ambiguous or unclear to teachers, teachers can encourage students to use gesture to explain.

Providing multimodal candidate understandings:

Teachers use gestures to provide a demonstration of their understanding of what students have shared with gesture, and invite students to evaluate, allowing students to weigh in on whether the teacher understood the original idea or not. 

Co-constructing gestures with students:

Teachers reach into students’ gestures to build and co-construct ideas with students.

Multimodal revoicing:

Multimodal revoicing was first described by Shein (2012) as a way teachers repeat students’ gestures to restate ideas. In our work, we identify different forms of multimodal revoicing, see here.

Attending and responding to students’ gestured candidate responses:

To answer teachers’ questions during whole-class discussions, students sometimes use gestures to provide silent, ‘off-the-record’ tentative responses. We have found that teachers respond in different ways, see here.

Flood, V. J. Wang, X. C., & Sheridan, M. (2022) Embodied responsive teaching for supporting computational thinking in early childhood. In C. Chinn, E. Tan, C. Chan, & Y. Kali (Eds.). Proceedings of the 16th International Conference of the Learning Sciences (ICLS) 2022 (pp. 855-862). Hiroshima, Japan: International Society of the Learning Sciences.

Flood, V. J., Shvarts, A., & Abrahamson, D. (2020). Teaching with embodied learning technologies for mathematics: Responsive teaching for embodied learning, ZDM Mathematics Education, (52)7, 1307-1331.