Gesture, Speech, and Graphic Organizers as Semiotic Resources for Summarizing: A Two-Case Analysis of the Genesis of Meaning

| November 1, 2010
Gesture, Speech, and Graphic Organizers as Semiotic Resources for Summarizing: A Two-Case Analysis of the Genesis of Meaning

Keywords: Gesture, speech, graphic organizers, Vygotsky, semiotic resources, case study research, microgenesis

John A. Unger
University of New Mexico, Gallup, United States of America

Lauren Walter
Active English School, Japan

Bio Data
John Unger is a developmental literacy educator at the University of New Mexico-Gallup, in Gallup New Mexico, USA. He has worked and studied in a wide variety of ESL/EFL and developmental English contexts for over 19 years. His current research revolves around different types of semiotic literacies that can be developed as supporting tools for English language learners in K-12, Academic ESL/EFL, and transitional literacy-learning contexts.

Lauren Walter is currently in Nagano, Japan, working as an EFL instructor at the Active English School. She recently graduated from the English and Linguistics Department at Truman State University and received the Outstanding Undergraduate Student of Linguistics award. Her research interests include second language acquisition, language teaching methodology, and international education.

By emphasizing the most noticeable part of gestures, the gesture stroke, this study investigated the spontaneous development of sign-systems created by two adult, non-native speakers of English while they summarized academic text for an audience. The focus of the study is on how participants integrated the sign systems of gesture, speech, and graphic organizers to make meaning across very short spans of time. This study illustrated how gesture can be used by classroom teachers and researchers to investigate the mutually affective relationship of oral speech, written language, and graphic displays of language during summarization activity. Moreover, the theoretical approach and methodology can be used to emphasize crucial points in the discourse where one part of the system is emphasized, at times, compensating for another part of the system during the meaning-making process. Findings have implications for a variety of language and literacy learning contexts, particularly for providing an interdisciplinary, practical, and accessible approach for classroom teachers, students, and researchers of language and literacy to investigate functional sign systems that language learners and speakers create to communicate in multilingual settings.

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Category: Monthly Editions, Volume 48