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Go: JHS GrammarShow Me Meaning


SUBMITTED BY: Raegina Taylor



GRAMMAR: Gesture

EXAMPLE: (Non-Verbally) Do  you have this?

DATE ADDED: Nov 12, 2007


    Large Classes (16-39 Students)Ó


35-50 min.

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BRIEF OUTLINEStudents work on identifying the role of gestures in conveying meaning and their relationship to language.





ACTIVITY ONE: Gesture Culture
    • Do a series of gestures for the class:
    • Beckon with index finger - this means come here in the West. To motion with the index finger to call someone is rude in many cultures: the Middle or Far East; Portugal, Spain, Latin America, Japan, Indonesia and Hong Kong.
    • Point at something in the room using your index finger - it is impolite to point with the index finger in the Middle and Far East. Use an open hand or your thumb (Indonesia).
    • Make a peace sign with your fingers - this means 'peace' in America and 'victory' in most of Europe when you make this sign with your palm facing away from you.
    • Reverse the V sign to show the number two - if you face your palm in, the same gesture means 'shove it!' in many parts of the word.
    • Form a circle with your fingers - although this means okay in the U.S. and in many other countries around the world, there are some notable exceptions: Brazil & Germany - it means rude; Japan - it means money; France - it means worthless or no money.
    • Pass an item to someone with the left hand - in Japan this is very rude. Even a very small item such as a pencil must be passed with two hands. In many Middle and Far Eastern countries it is rude to pass something with your left hand which is considered unclean.
    • Wave hand with palm facing outward to greet someone - in Europe, waving the hand back and forth can mean no. To wave goodbye, raise the palm outward and wag the fingers in unison, This is also very rude in Nigeria if the hand is too close to another person’s face.
    • Nod head up and down to show a nonverbal 'yes' - In Bulgaria and Greece, this gesture means no.
      • Repeat the gestures and the students write down whether they are rude or not on their worksheets. Then, go through the answers.

ACTIVITY TWO: Gestured Conversations
  • Students work in groups of four or five
  • The goal is that each group makes it through all the gestures. Students play Janken for the order.
  • Student one comes up and looks at the sentence. They must go back to their group and gesture out the sentence. The others in the group must try and guess what it is. NO WORDS in this activity are allowed.
  • When a student thinks they know the answer, they come up and tell the ALT. Repeat with the second student.
    • To score, have the number of sentences on the board under each group name. Cross the number off as the group completes the sentence.
      • Possible gestures you could use are:
        • What time is it?
        • Where’s the toilet?
        • Would you like some coffee?
        • May I please borrow your pen?
        • Do you like/play tennis?
        • Can I take my shoes off?
        • How tall are you?
        • Do  you like eating ramen?
    • Students write about what they thought about the activities in the lesson.



    WARM UP: Pass the gesture

    • Students line up in two groups along the back of the classroom. Maybe one girls and one boys, depending on your number of students.
    • The ALT thinks of a number and writes it on the board and covers it. The students from each choose a number from each end to see who will go first. The student who is the closest goes first.
    • Students turn to face AWAY from the board (so they can’t see what is going on behind them). The first student steps back and watches as the ALT shows them the first gesture sequence (ie a bow, then shaking hands).
    • Student one then taps the next student on the shoulder who watches student one gesture. This process continues down the line until all students have passed along the gesture sequence to the end. The last student does the gesture for everyone to watch.
    • The group who is the fastest wins.
    • Now that the students understand the game, get them to repeat it, this time with the group that is the most accurate.



    • Doing the suggested warm-up first sets the mood for the lesson. The students seemed ready to be doing a gesture-based lesson after this.
    • Just do it and get out.
    • Drink a hell of a lot of coffee.
    • I like to introduce this class with a story about my mishaps with the Japanese language. I tell a story about me going into a supermarket to buy eggs, butt he lady didn't understand me. So, in the middle of the local supermarket (I tell them which one and they laugh as it is really small and really inaka) I start flapping arms like a chicken and squatting down, then gesture something coming out of my butt. The shopkeeperfs eyes light up as she gets it and takes me to the eggs. Putting the importance of gestures in a context they will understand is a good way to get the interested, and a way fro them to try and begin to grasp what it is like to have limited access to a language and trying to communicate without real words.



    • If all students are doing gestures and looking silly, then the other students will try. Never single out students to demonstrate gestures in front of the class- it just won’t work.

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This page was last modified on Monday, March 12, 2012 03:42:18 PM