NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ793422
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008
Pages: 15
Abstractor: Author
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0883-0355
Investigating Children's Musical Interactions within the Activities Systems of Group Composing and Arranging: An Application of Engestrom's Activity Theory
Burnard, Pamela; Younker, Betty Anne
International Journal of Educational Research, v47 n1 p60-74 2008
This article applies Engestrom's Activity Theory (AT) as an analytical lens to identify defining characteristics of the collaborative creative music making activities of composing and arranging. Attention is paid to the complex interrelationships among the various elements of interaction in children's collaborative creative music making as evidenced in group composing (where the activity features generation and revision of new musical material) and arranging (where the activity features creative use of existing musical material) are differentiated tasks. These include, for example, "tool use" in response to different tasks, the "rules" that govern peer collaboration, and the "division of labour" experienced among key players in the co-construction of decisions. Exemplary cases are sampled from data sets drawn from two separate sites one of which features a group composing task with fifth graders in a USA urban school and the other a group arranging task with eighth graders in a UK urban school. This micro-analysis is less concerned with the differences of collaborative interaction in varying cultural settings than with exploring the micro-analysis of social and language processes that characterise these differentiated creative tasks and the related activity systems. The activity system, or systems of social relations, is the unit of analysis applied across comparison-group cases using ethnographic observation, and discourse and event analysis. Analysis of the data indicates that composing and arranging involve differentiated activity systems. Important defining characteristics of the collaborative interactions, as outcomes of the children's approach to the task activities, are identified. Conclusions indicate that the application of an activity theory research perspective can provide a useful framework to make sense of the interrelated elements that characterise interaction in peer collaboration.
Elsevier. 6277 Sea Harbor Drive, Orlando, FL 32887-4800. Tel: 877-839-7126; Tel: 407-345-4020; Fax: 407-363-1354; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Elementary Education; Elementary Secondary Education; Grade 5; Grade 8; Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United Kingdom; United States