Children's use of popular media in their creative writing
This study is an examination of the social world of children's story writing, focusing on the way children use the agency offered to them in the context of the' writing process' pedagogy as a way of negotiating existing practices to position themselves in the discursive field of the classroom. Using methods from teacher-research and ethnographic traditions, I collected data from the class I was teaching, focusing on six children aged eight to nine. Data collection included observations of social interactions, photocopies of stories children wrote, interviews with children, group discussions, tape recordings of children talking while writing stories, and a diary of my experiences as a teacher-researcher. Using a form of discourse analysis, I focused on three areas in my data analysis: writing process, media consumption and production, and identity work. My analysis shows the ways children negotiate with and manipulate school practices in order to include their peer cultures in writing workshop, indicating children's understanding of school practices and concern with their social positions. In my study I show how popular media, a significant element of peer culture, is used by children in story writing as a way of establishing and defining personal identities and friendship groups. It is through friendships and often within the context of talk around media that children define, perform, and to some extent play with their gendered identities. The conclusions of my study point to a need for educators to recognise the way discursive practices of school create a very narrow definition of' acceptable stories' in classrooms. The practices problematise stories which contain media, and therefore teachers overlook and misunderstand many of the things children are doing during the process of writing media-based stories.