Embodied multi-modal communication from the perspective of activity theory

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I begin by appreciating the contributions in the volume that indirectly and directly address the questions: Why do gestures and embodiment matter to mathematics education, what has understanding of these achieved and what might they achieve? I argue, however, that understanding gestures can in general only play an important role in 'grasping' the meaning of mathematics if the whole object-orientated 'activity' is taken into account in our perspective, and give examples from my own work and from this Special Issue. Finally, I put forward the notion of a 'threshold' moment, where seeing and grasping at the nexus of two or more activities often seem to be critical to breakthroughs in learning. © 2008 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)201-210
Number of pages9
JournalEducational Studies in Mathematics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2009


  • Activity theory
  • Pedagogy
  • Threshold moment
  • Unit of analysis


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