Understanding children’s perspectives of classroom writing practices through drawings

Year: 2016

Author: Woods, Annette, Comber, Barbara, Kervin, Lisa, Baroutsis, Aspa

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

The importance of listening to and gathering children’s perspectives has been emphasised in a wide range of early childhood research. Children are expert informants about their own lives and this requires researchers to develop and implement strategies that can effectively elicit the insights that children offer to a research topic. We acknowledge that drawing has the potential to capture children’s perspectives. It is through the act of drawing that children are able to provide insight into their visualisation and understanding of classroom practices. Acknowledging that it is the children who live the classroom experience, we look to drawing as a powerful tool to gather and begin to understand children’s perspectives of specific classroom practices. Further, we recognise children’s interpretation of this practice may be different from other key stakeholders (including their teachers). This paper explores the use of drawing as a strategy to engage with young children around the topic of writing. In this paper we present our analysis of drawings created by children depicting what learning to write and writing looks like for them. Following individual interviews using the Learning to write in the early years survey, each child was invited to draw in response to the prompt to draw a picture of learning to write. This task was designed to capture their perspectives of when, where, how and with whom they write. As such, we have analysed the archive of drawings gathered from children in the first four years of school, from two public schools located in two Australian states. We pay particular attention to the children’s representation of the spaces they occupy as writers, along with the tools, texts, resources and people they identify as being involved.