Higgins, Clare (2019) Spanish inside a submarine: Exploring children’s experiences of learning a language through their drawings. Doctoral thesis, University of Huddersfield.

This thesis aims to identify and assess the thinking and learning processes used by young children learning Spanish in a primary school classroom, achieved through engaging them in drawing. The range and diversity of expression within the drawings is analysed with a dynamic new model (TAPTAS) developed for this research.

TAPTAS is a multi-dimensional model inspired by Rose’s (2001) critical visual analysis methodology, utilising three foci: Text, (which considers the genre and content of the drawings), Audience (which examines for whom the children are drawing), and Producer (which highlights the process of drawing). Each of the foci are analysed using three lenses: Technology (presence or absence of technology), Aesthetic (for example, colours and perspective), and Social (for example peer-to-peer interactions). A critical part of applying the TAPTAS model is conversation with children, together with contemporaneous field notes, with which to interrogate children’s drawings.

This innovative analysis of young children’s drawings reveals the rich inner world of how they experience and engage in learning Spanish. Significant findings from TAPTAS reveal the intensely social nature of learning in the classroom, and includes children using their drawings to influence friendships, to mirror each other’s drawings, and to draw themselves teaching others to learn Spanish.

This thesis provides evidence of the importance of conversations about the drawing of learning, where children supply complex explanations of how their drawings fit the request of their teacher. This also greatly enhances interpretations of the drawing itself.

The thesis concludes by suggesting future practical and research applications for the TAPTAS model, with recommendations for utilising children’s drawings in the classroom as a way to enhance teaching, learning and assessment in the classroom, in particular through the co-teaching by peers as a pedagogical tool.

FINAL THESIS - Higgins.pdf - Accepted Version
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