Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Curriculum and Instruction


Curriculum & Instruction

First Committee Member

Steven McCafferty, Chair

Second Committee Member

Thomas Bean

Third Committee Member

Shaoan Zhang

Graduate Faculty Representative

LeAnn Putney

Number of Pages



The purpose of this sociocultural study was to investigate gesture as a mediational tool for meaning-making in learning and teaching a second language. Gesture was observed between a teacher and her immigrant students in a second grade elementary classroom designed specifically for second language learners of English. This study provides an innovative investigation in the role gesture plays as a meditational tool for meaning-making by using a SCT framework at an elementary context level.

Using sociocultural theory, particularly the Vygotskian tradition, this study views gesture as a part of image in thinking. This SCT framework views second language learning in a holistic way, where language is not disembodied from making sense and is not divided in its image and speech components. The study considers gesture as an indivisible part of language, thinking, and meaning-making. In addition, gesture is viewed for its affordances for making meaning as created by both first and second language English speakers. Through the use of dialectics and dialogism, this study views gesture and speech in-vivo and as synthesized parts of language and necessary components to meaning-making for second language learning.


Ecological education; Ecology—Study and teaching (Elementary); Eco-social; Elementary school teaching; English language — Study and teaching — Foreign speakers; English as a second language; Gesture; Meaning-making; Sociocultural theory


Bilingual, Multilingual, and Multicultural Education | Education

File Format


Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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