Volume 22, Issue 2
  • ISSN 1568-1475
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9773
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Teachers’ use of gestures in the classroom can support the language acquisition of learners in learning a second language (Stam & Tellier, 2022). Depending on learners’ language skills, different dimensions of gestures (e.g., deictic, metaphorical) are considered to facilitate successful language comprehension. This study investigates which gestures teachers use in German as a second language (GSL) classrooms and to what extent teachers adapt their gestures to learners’ language proficiency. Teacher gestures in 10 video-recorded integration and preparation classes were analyzed. Two coders reliably identified 4143 gestures. Results show that GSL teachers predominantly used deictic gestures, metaphorical gestures, and feedback by head movements. Moreover, between-learner variability in teachers’ use of deictic and metaphorical gestures was explained by teacher-perceived German language proficiency of learners. These results suggest that teachers systematically adapt some dimensions of gestures in GSL classes, thus emphasizing the importance of studying nonverbal interactions for a better understanding of language acquisition processes.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): adaptive teaching; second language acquisition; teachers’ gestures
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