Signs, symbols and schemas: Understanding meaning in a child’s drawings
AbstractThis paper examines the schematic underpinnings in the drawings of a four-year-old girl, Thea. The paper reviews literature on graphic representations, signs and meaning-making before discussing schematic form in children’s drawings, the theoretical background for the study. The paper discusses ethical issues and methodological approaches to the study where data include drawings made at home and school, Thea’s recorded talk about drawings, and video recordings of her drawing sessions over a four-months period. These were coded manually and using NVivo to identify schemas. The paper discusses examples of Thea’s exploration of enclosure and trajectory schematic form, which are represented by rich content derived from her experiences and imagination. The paper concludes that Thea’s drawings included many schematic signifiers with clear evidence of complex thinking around enclosures and of vertical and horizontal trajectories. The paper evidences the importance of listening to children’s talk as they draw in order to understand more fully, the meanings they are making. Through signs, symbols, and personal narratives, Thea used drawing as a meaningful semiotic space where her persistent schematic concerns were manifest.
Deguara, J. and Nutbrown, C.E. orcid.org/0000-0001-6100-7511 <http://orcid.org/0000-0001-6100-7511> (2017) Signs, symbols and schemas: Understanding meaning in a child’s drawings. International Journal of Early Years Education. pp. 1-31. ISSN 0966-9760 (In Press)