I met Dr. Littlemore at the 2010 JALT conference in Nagoya, Japan. It was great to see her workshop, and to talk to her afterwards about the research she has been engaged in regarding metaphor and gesture. As teachers, we need to be aware of the ways in which our gestures may be interpreted… whether they support or contradict the words coming out of our mouths (which are quite likely to be metaphorical themselves). We also need to understand the messages our students are sending through gesture. It’s a fascinating topic. Some things you might like to comment on.
Teachers who gesture more are perceived to be better teachers.
The idea that gesture can betray an ‘accent’ in L2 users, or conversely, that adoption of an L2 physicality can give a more positive impression.
Incorporating gesture into teaching may enable learners to connect more powerfully to the target language.
You can find a list of Dr. Littlemore’s work here.
UPDATE Dr. Littlemore kindly sent me a copy of the article she published in the pre-conference edition of The Language Teacher, which includes further readings. The original can be found at…
Littlemore, J. (2010). Metaphor, gesture and second language acquisition. The Language Teacher, 34.4, 35 – 37