Intro and contents



Reaching out



Gestures in communication

My research 1

My research 2

Student profile

Video of class

Input and output

Output and interlanguage

Gesture and grammar

Eliciting with gesture

Silent period

Fading gesture

Gesture in CLIL



Videos of gesture classes for learning English.

Example video 1.

To read up on the methodology for this teaching approach in the video, see the methodology explanation, here...

The technique where the teacher presents gestures for the student to read is called Silent Sign. "Silent" because the teacher communicates via gestures only. As you will see in this video through Silent Sign the teacher controls the input of English in the classroom. This ensures controlled practice of the vocabulary and structures the teacher wants the students to develop. However, even within this controlled practice environment there is still a certain amount of student-teacher communication. In this extract, the students suggest what colours the ties in the suitcase are.

If our students can learn a gesture code together with the foreign language, the presentation of new vocabulary becomes much easier. Gestures help the teacher maintain meaning in the classroom. Note here how my students deduced I referred to some sort of bag from their recognition of previously learnt gestures. Here is the classic joke about the man dying of thirst in the desert. He thinks he needs water but what he really needs is a new tie!

 Story visual displayed on screen
Visual displayed on screen behind teacher.

Through gesture, we can get our students to draw on their evolving interlanguage and elicit parts of speech from them: verb tenses, comparatives, personal pronouns, etc. The constant need to recall a part of speech and construct or conjugate helps students to consolidate the new language in their minds. Unlike written gap-fill exercises that concentrate on just a verb in a sentence, for example, using the Silent Sign technique, every word is a gap to be filled: nouns, adjectives, adverbs and verbs alike.

The students in this video are Spanish 10-year-olds from a state school in Carmona, Seville in Spain - 19 students in the group all told. This video was made after 50 hours of an experimental research course...

Article based on findings from Phd thesis (Bilbrough 2017).

Now see article - Gesture: considerations on input and output in the English classroom...


Bilbrough M.A. (2017). Accelerating input and exposure in the English language classroom. IATEFL 2016 Birmingham conference selections.

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