Exploring the out-of-school writing practices of three children aged 9 - 10 years old and how these practices travel across and within the domains of home and school

Chamberlain, Elizabeth May (2015). Exploring the out-of-school writing practices of three children aged 9 - 10 years old and how these practices travel across and within the domains of home and school. EdD thesis The Open University.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.21954/ou.ro.0000b6c8

Abstract

This study explores the writing practices of children aged 9-10 years across the settings of home and school. It examines the nature of the out-of-school writing practices of three case study children, within and across these domains. Additionally, it seeks to understand the children’s relationship with writing and considers if and how their writing practices travel across both domains.

In examining home and school writing practices, the study took a sociocultural perspective underpinned by Bronfenbrenner’s (1979) ecological systems theory framework. A review of the relevant literature led to the utilisation of a multimodal definition of writing and the framing of the research as a qualitative, bounded case study within an interpretive, iterative enquiry. The principal research methods were the collation of the children’s writing artefacts, together with video and photographic footage of in-action practices in home settings, school observations and writing conversations.

The findings reveal the ways in which these developing young writers engaged and interacted with writing differently in both settings. The trajectory of writing practices across home and school are seen to be in a recursive relationship through the transformation of writing events from one setting to another. Three key themes developed and are presented as metaphors of travel: Places, spaces and local customs; Text souvenirs and local decisions; and Domain exchange and transaction. These themes indicate the range and versatility of the children’s home writing practices. They highlight the complexity in characterising a shared definition of writing across domains.

On the basis of the data, the study argues for teachers to be more aware and welcoming of children’s home writing practices in classroom activities. In so doing, teachers would be better able to build on these experiences, leading to new and shared ways of conceptualising writing in English primary classrooms. Finally, the study considers avenues for future research.

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