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Anne Maj Nielsen

Children’s drawing activities and narratives from their everyday lives

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In the Scandinavian countries it has become common to make children’s perspectives on their own lives in family and child care part of research in these areas. This raises questions about what methods to use when we study young children. In this session the presenter will – together with Grethe Kragh-Müller and Dorte Kousholt – discuss drawing activities as a research method in the study of young children.
This presentation focus on how children’s interaction and visual experiences contribute to the construction and transformation of meanings and narratives as they are mediated in children’s drawing activities (Nielsen 1994). The concepts of symbolic realms (Nielsen 1993, 1994), semiotic practices and conventions (Braswell 2006) and appeal and attunement (Fink-Jensen 2007) are discussed and used to analyse the transformation of lived experience into construction of meaning in drawings. In the drawing activity and situation in the specific context various events and material tools and artefacts may appeal to the drawing child in ways that affect the drawing. This is important to take into consideration in research.
The presentation includes examples from two research projects that aimed to include the children’s perspective: one project studied learning and communication in preschool and the other studied learning opportunities and intergenerational social inequality in school (third grade). In both projects interviews and drawing activities were part of the qualitative methods. The results and the methods are discussed in the presentation.

Braswell, G.S. (2006). Socio-cultural Contexts for the Early Development of Semiotic Production. Psychological Bulletin, American Psychological Association 132 (6): 877–894.
Fink-Jensen, K. (2007). Attunement and Bodily Dialogues in Music Education. Philosophy of Music Education Review, 15, no 1, 53 - 68.
Nielsen, A.M. (1993). ‘Børn, billeder og personlighedsddannelse’. In: Psyke & Logos nr. 2 / 1993. København: Dansk Psykologisk Forlag.
Nielsen, A.M. (1994). Køn og symbollag i børns billeder. Ph.D.-dissertation. København: Danmarks Lærerhøjskole. (Gender and Symbol-realms in Children’s Pictures).
Original languageEnglish
Publication year30 Aug 2012
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 30 Aug 2012
EventEECERA Conference: Pre-Birth to Three: identities, learning, diversities - Polytechnic Institute of Oporto, School of Education, Oporto, Portugal
Duration: 29 Aug 20121 Sep 2012
Conference number: 22nd


ConferenceEECERA Conference
LocationPolytechnic Institute of Oporto, School of Education

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