Presentation Details

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The Eleventh International Literacy and Education Research Network Conference on Learning

Children's Multimodal Depictions of Futures through Drawing and Storytelling

Assoc Prof Susan Wright.

Anyone who has had intimate artistic experiences would appreciate the special ways in which the processes of thinking, feeling, knowing and communicating take place in the arts. The arts provide significant avenues for multi-modal understanding, which integrates visual-verbal, somatic and other forms of expression. It seems that cross-domain encoding of information is better comprehended, recalled and elaborated than if only one domain is used. In the arts, however, the predominant form of information processing often is through nonverbal domains, such as encoding still and moving images, sound/music and movement in space. While all forms of encoding should be honoured in the education of children, the focus of this paper is on children’s meaning-making and meaning-communication through drawing and storytelling.

The paper describes how five to eight year old children construct and manipulate symbols to represent the abstract concept of “what the future will be like” through the transduction of meaning between graphic, oral and bodily-kinaesthetic modalities. Several examples illustrate how children use a rich amalgam of both fantasy and reality, and embellish their works through expressive vocal inflection, sound effects, metaphors, gestures and body posture to create meaning and to emphasise actions, ideas and affects.


Assoc Prof Susan Wright  (Singapore)
Senior Fellow
Early Childhood Specialised Education
National Institute of Education

  • Arts
  • Music
  • Emotion
  • Interpretation
  • Children

(Virtual Presentation, English)