NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ1147795
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2017
Pages: 12
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1029-8457
Grade 3 Learners' Representation of Their Solutions to a Design Problem through Drawing: A Semiotic Analysis
Alant, Busisiwe P.; Sherwood, Marion P.
African Journal of Research in Mathematics, Science and Technology Education, v21 n1 p74-85 2017
Literature suggests that drawing has an important role in the development of learning and thinking skills and the communication of ideas. However, the role and use of drawing by young learners within the process of designing is poorly understood. Working with 22 Grade 3 learners from a well-resourced school in KwaZulu-Natal, this study sought to explore the use of "drawing" in "designing." The research design constituted two phases. The preliminary phase explored the range of these learners' "ability to draw" using two normative diagnostic tests: the Beery-Buktenica Developmental Test of Visual-Motor Integration (VMI) and the Goodenough Harris Draw-a-Person (DAP) Test. The main phase of the study explored the relation between "drawing" and "designing." It used a design probe to ascertain how these Grade 3 learners represented their design solutions through drawing. Both the VMI and the DAP Tests revealed a wide range of drawing ability in this group, with performances higher in the DAP Test. A semiotic analysis of how these Grade 3 learners represented their design solutions through drawing revealed, first, that all four semiotic resources, as identified by Mavers, were employed in the design solutions. Secondly, there was no one-to-one relation between producing "good" drawings and "successful" designing. Thirdly, Grade 3 learners used drawing in two distinct ways: (a) as a "representational" tool--i.e. "recording" tool; and (b) as a "conceptual" tool--i.e. an "interactive design" tool. The analysis shows that 44% of Grade 3 learners use drawing as a "recording" tool. Attention is on the appearance of the drawing rather than on the development of the design solutions. In contrast, 56% used drawing as an "interactive design" tool, highlighting the attempt to have a visual conversation with the design. Despite the absence of formal coaching or explanation of the purpose of using drawing for design, more than half of Grade 3 learners enacted this capability.
Routledge. Available from: Taylor & Francis, Ltd. 530 Walnut Street Suite 850, Philadelphia, PA 19106. Tel: 800-354-1420; Tel: 215-625-8900; Fax: 215-207-0050; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Education; Grade 3; Primary Education; Early Childhood Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: South Africa
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: Beery Developmental Test of Visual Motor Integration; Goodenough Harris Drawing Test; Draw a Person Test
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A