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Title: Young children's conceptualisation of images in their familiar environments
Author: Gowers, Sophia J.
ISNI:       0000 0004 7972 0325
Awarding Body: University of Sheffield
Current Institution: University of Sheffield
Date of Award: 2019
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This study adopts a participatory visual mapping methodology to capture young children's interactions with, and comprehension of the visual mode in their familiar environments. Adopting a social semiotics theoretical framework, this study is designed around two main aims: firstly, to explore the ways young children conceptualise images in their environment and secondly to identify how visual mapping, as a methodological approach, can be used to capture young children's comprehension of, and interactions with the visual mode. The group of 4 to 5-year-old children involved in the study, are posed as social and active meaning makers with a variety of multimodal engagements, incorporating the visual mode. As communicative practices are argued to be understood in context with surrounding cultural and social practices, the data for this study were collected in three key locations seen as familiar to the children involved: the home environment, Early Years setting, and a community leisure centre. In each setting the children captured examples of the visual mode through digital photography, before creating two dimensional maps of their setting with the printed images. Conversations between the researcher and child were recorded and transcribed, to draw out the meanings expressed by the children. Thematic analysis was used to identify key themes. The mapping technique enabled the children to be positioned as both message creators, through the production of their visual maps, and message receivers as they sought to make meaning of the multimodal texts they encountered within their environment. The use of a mapping activity supported identification of the children's knowledge of the codes and conventions of the visual mode which may not so easily be put into words. The study revealed that, for children, the context and location of images are important, with the presence of images and artefacts enabling familiarity with a place. Furthermore, movement was identified as an intrinsic part of their multimodal engagements. This study contributes to the developing body of participatory visual research methods. The use of mapped representations allowed children's perceptions of the spatial and embodied aspects of meaning making to be foregrounded. It is now imperative that these perceptions are recognised and supported within the Early Years setting in order to create an environment which not only reflects children's prior experiences but the shifting communication practices of modern society.
Supervisor: Parry, Rebecca L. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ed.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available