Middle School English Language Teachers’ Kinesics and Gender Differences: A Multimodal Approach

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Mouloud Mammeri University of Tizi-Ouzou


This dissertation is concerned with the analysis of the kinesics or body language of five English language teachers teaching in three middle schools; Colonel Lotfi, Frères Kerkache and Babouche Said. It examines whether the kinesic behaviour of these teachers; that is, gestures, facial expressions, gaze, head motion and body posture improves and assists teaching and facilitates their pupils’ target language learning. It also examines whether there are gender differences with respect to the use of body language in the middle school classroom. The study is based on Mixed Methods Research. It combines the Social Semiotic Multimodal Approach alongside a kinesic framework to analyze teachers’ body movements obtained in fifteen filmed videos, and an interview conducted with four of the participant teachers: two females and two males to see teachers’ perception of their kinesic behaviour in the classroom, with a questionnaire administered to one-hundred middle school pupils to sort out their perception of their teachers’ kinesics. The results obtained in the investigation reveal that the participant teachers use body language in the middle school classes intentionally and instructively. Their body movements facilitate pupils’ understanding of the teaching points, enhance their concentration in the classroom, foster their motivation to learn English, encourage them to interact and take part in the classroom, help them memorize information in their long term memory, contribute to build positive relationship between teachers and their pupils, organize teachers’ speech and ideas and help them overcome some lexical shortcomings and help to replace some explanations in the native language. The study also shows that female English language teachers use gestures more than male teachers in the middle school classes. The conclusion to be drawn from these findings is that teachers use their kinesic behaviour as a semiotic resource to realize three main purposes: cognitive, organizational and affective. The kinesics of English language teachers is a salient factor that can help improve both the teaching practice and the learning process in Algerian middle school classroom where English is taught and learned as a foreign Language.





Applied Linguistics and Social Semiotics