Drawing as an interactional resource for supporting stories about belonging

Amanda Bateman (Corresponding / Lead Author), Linda Mitchell

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    This article explores how drawing, facilitated by teacher prompts, provides opportunities for children to communicate their new connections in and sense of belonging with Aotearoa New Zealand, whilst sustaining connections with people and experiences from their home country. We use an ethnomethodological framework (Garfinkel, 1967) and a conversation analysis approach (Sacks et al., 1974) to explore spontaneous interactions between children and early childhood teachers around drawing activities. Four children, aged 3 and 4 years and who are from immigrant backgrounds, are the focus for the article. They participated with their families as case studies in research about the role of early childhood education in strengthening belonging for refugee and immigrant families (Mitchell et al., 2018). Families selected for case studies were of differing ethnicities, had come to Aotearoa New Zealand as refugees or immigrants, and wanted to participate in the research. The examples here involve the children restricting their talk to include only the characters they have drawn, demonstrating drawing as a unique resource which restricts possible unintentional ‘hijacking’ (Davis & Peters, 2008). Our findings demonstrate how touch and talk intertwine to co-construct a sequential unfolding of a story where characters are identified prior to the child telling about activities and location. As such, the drawings act as tangible resources which facilitate talk about an abstract concept such as belonging. ‘Slow pedagogies’ and a dedicated space for uninterrupted work with small groups were other facilitating features.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1-20
    Number of pages20
    JournalInternational Journal of Early Childhood
    Publication statusPublished (VoR) - 8 Nov 2023


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