'I zeez a weirredd ting': Childrens' affective understandings of the semiotic potential of spelling.

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Submission Summary

This paper explores moments of improvisation in creative writing workshops with 11-12 year old children by using ethnographic fieldnotes, audio recordings, creative texts, and research interviews to consider the coming together of the material, affective, social, modal, cultural, and environmental elements on which writing activity is provisionally situated.

Submission ID :
AILA2852
Submission Type
Abstract :

This paper explores moments of improvisation in creative writing workshops with 11-12 year old children in a secondary school in a city in the North of the U.K . This involves using ethnographic fieldnotes, audio recordings, creative texts, and research interviews to consider the coming together of the material, affective, social, modal, cultural, and environmental elements on which writing activity is provisionally situated. In this work I consider how to attend to the 'affective intensities' that are involved in sustaining or disrupting an idea or an action, or simply create an environment where another possibility is invited, as well as tracing the range and variety of moods that emerge from the affective coming together of people, environment, and things. This paper will explore how participants drew on their understanding of their local area, and schooled literacy, to defamiliarise writing in the creation of 'alien postcards'. Particularly in tracing the sense of enjoyment involved in two girls writing and speaking like an 'alien'. I focus on how these girls explore the visual affordances of spelling to create written artefacts that trace and provoke complex affective and interpersonal interactions, through the use of multiple everyday 'non-standard' ways of speaking. This research traces the complex, often chaotic-looking, moments of improvisation from which ideas, feelings, and texts emerge in workshop sessions, and considering the discussions and challenges relating to the creation of meaningful spaces for play and improvisation, within English classroom contexts.

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Sheffield Hallam University

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