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Competent Toddlers: A Study of Engagement, Social Interaction and Meaning Making In Front Of The TV Screen
Högskolan i Gävle, Avdelningen för kultur-, religions- och utbildningsvetenskap.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-6537-6824
2013 (English)Conference paper, Presentation (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Based on the results from a Swedish research project, this paper investigates young children's meaning-making in relation to moving images in a preschool context. The specific focus of the paper is to look at if – and how – two year-old children can be said to make meaning during the screening of a series of short animated films at their preschools. What kind of meanings are made and how are they communicated by the children? How do the films become resources for childrens meaning making and to what extent can social interaction with peers and preschool teachers be said to influence childrens meaning making during the screening of the films? The results presented are based on analyses of both interaction in front of the TV screen and of the animated films.

The theoretical framework is based on a social semiotic (Hodge & Kress, 1988; Kress, 2003; van Leeuwen, 2005) and multimodal (Kress & van Leeuwen, 2001; Jewitt, 2009) approach, which implies a view of communication and representation as a social process of signmaking. Both theories are united in a common interest in understanding how people communicate and make meanings with a wide range of resources, or modes. Semiotic resources are used both to produce and interpret texts, in the same way as signs are made both externally and internally. The analyses of both interaction and of the animated films were guided by the theoretical assumptiom that all texts simultaneously construct different types of meanings through three metafunctions (Jewitt & Oyama, 2001; Iedema, 2001; van Leeuwen, 2005). They represent some aspect of the world (the ideational metafunction); represent and construct relations between represented and interactive participants (the interpersonal metafunction); and are organised as coherent texts (the textual metafunction). Meanings are made through the use of various modes in relation to these different aspects.

The project included studies at eight preschools spread over three Swedish municipalities. Approximately 150 children in the ages from two to four participated in the project. They watched the films in groups of four to six children. Nine screenings were recorded with video camera and mp3 recorders. All video material was transcribed multimodally and analysed by means of the social semiotic and multimodal framework presented above. Aspects that were attended to specifically in the transcriptions included verbal interaction, gaze/eye movements, gestures, posture, mimics and motions. Apart from the filmed material, interviews were made with children, parents and preschool teachers. The role of the interviews was to construct a background in terms of how moving images were used in the preschools and how familiar the children were with different kinds of media etc. Accordingly, interviews were transcribed more thematically than the video material.

The paper shows that the children indeed make meaning in relation to the fillms and that they make a number of forms of meaning during the screenings. The meanings are made in different modes and are influenced by a number of factors, such as the social interaction with peers and preschool teachers, whether or not the stories are familiar to the children from before, and the childrens previous experiences of moving images . The paper also shows that the young children are highly competent in practicing literacy skills during the screenings, exemplified by their expertise in interpreting various aspects related to film language

References

Banks, Marcus (2001): Visual Methods in Social Research. London: SAGE Publications.Hodge, Robert & Kress, Gunther (1988): Social semiotics. Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press.Iedema, Rick (2001): “Analysing film and television: a social semiotic account of Hospital: an Unhealthy Business”. In Van Leeuwen, Theo & Jewitt, Carey (red): Handbook of Visual Analysis. London: SAGE Publications. P 183-206.Jewitt, Carey (ed.)(2009): The Routledge Handbook of Multimodal Analysis. London & New York: Routledge.Jewitt, Carey & Kress, Gunther (eds)(2003): Multimodal literacy. London: Routledge. Jewitt, Carey & Oyama, Rumiko (2001): “Visual meaning: a social semiotic approach”. In van Leeuwen, Theo & Jewitt, Carey (eds): Handbook of Visual Analysis. London: SAGE Publications. P 134-156Kress, Gunther (1993): “Against arbitrariness: the social production of the sign as a foundational issue in critical discourse analysis”. In Discourse & society, vol 4(2). P 169-191.Kress, Gunther (1997). Before writing. Rethinking the paths to literacy. London: Routledge.Kress, Gunther (2003): Literacy in the New Media Age. London: Routledge.Kress, Gunther; Jewitt, Carey; Ogborn, Jon; Tsatsarelis, Charalampos (2001): Multimodal Teaching and Learning. The Rhetorics of the Science Classroom. London: Continuum.Kress, Gunther & van Leeuwen, Theo (2001): Multimodal Discourse. The modes and media of contemporary communication. London: Arnold.Lindstrand, Fredrik (2006) Att göra skillnad. Representation, identitet och lärande i ungdomars arbete och berättande med film. Doctoral thesis. Stockholm: HLS Förlag.Lindstrand, Fredrik (1998) "Snuttefilm i förskolan - en studie av engagemang och meningsskapande". In Rönnberg, M. (ed.): Blöjbarnsteve. Uppsala: Filmförlaget.Van Leeuwen, T. (2005) Introducing social semiotics. London & New York: Routledge.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013.
Keyword [en]
children, preschool, toddlers, multimodality, TV, interaction, meaning-making, video
National Category
Didactics Learning Pedagogical Work
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:konstfack:diva-4855OAI: oai:DiVA.org:konstfack-4855DiVA: diva2:769605
Conference
ECER 2013, Creativity and Innovation in Educational Research, Istanbul, September 10-13 2013
Available from: 2013-04-03 Created: 2014-12-08 Last updated: 2016-05-26Bibliographically approved

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