Teacher Gestures: An Action Research on Iranian EFL Learners’ Long-term Retention of Idiomatic Expressions

Document Type : Research Paper


English Department, Sabzevar Branch, Islamic Azad University, Sabzevar, Iran



The present study aimed at evaluating the effect of using three types of teacher gestures including representational (iconic, metaphoric) and emblematic gestures on the long-term retention of some L2 (here, English) concrete, and figurative idiomatic structures among a group of volunteering female junior high-school learners in Sabzevar, Iran. Via a multi-stage, mixed-method research design, over a period of eight weeks mainly focusing on an action research design, twelve learners of the eighth and ninth grades of high schools were presented with forty-eight English idiomatic phrases. Post-tests on the immediate and delayed recall and recognition tests served as the primary tools for collecting the essential data along with frequent teacher notes on their performance. The report from Wilcoxon Signed-Ranks Test indicated that the median delayed post-test ranks were not statistically significantly different from the median immediate post-test ranks Z=12, p≥.754, which proved a positive effect of using gestures on long-term retention of idiomatic phrases. In the second phase, teachers’ and students’ views were also scrutinized which showed positive feedback over the process. Implications for L2 classes were then presented in the light of recent multi-modal strategies for teaching target language forms having idiomatic expressions for the English as a Foreign Language (EFL) context.


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