Academic journal article Kuram ve Uygulamada Egitim Bilimleri

Semiotic Approach to the Analysis of Children's Drawings

Academic journal article Kuram ve Uygulamada Egitim Bilimleri

Semiotic Approach to the Analysis of Children's Drawings

Article excerpt

Abstract

Semiotics, which is used for the analysis of a number of communication languages, helps describe the specific operational rules by determining the sub-systems included in the field it examines. Considering that art is a communication language, this approach could be used in analyzing children's products in art education. The present study aiming at examining primary school students' drawings with a semiotic approach was designed via the art-based research method, and the drawings were analyzed through the semiotic approach. The study was conducted in the primary school 3rd grade course of Visual Arts at two primary schools, one of which had students with lower socio-economic status, and the other had students with higher socio-economic status in the central town of Eskisehir in the spring term of 2010-2011 academic year. The study was carried out with a total of 26 students, and the participants were asked to draw a picture regarding a concept. The research data were collected via the students' drawings and via the clinical interviews held with the students regarding their drawings. At the end of the study, it was found out that the semiotic analysis conducted regarding the students' drawings was not only a tool that helped make psychological descriptions but also an approach that allowed following their mental development processes; that mostly the students attending the school from the lower socio-economic status used both the direct meanings of objects and their meanings based on reason-result relationships; and the symbolic meanings of objects were mostly favored by students attending the school from the higher socio-economic status. In this respect, the semiotic approach could be considered as an effective way to diversify the diagnostic techniques used both by educators and by parents to give meaning to students' inner-worlds and their viewpoints about the environment and to monitor their mental processes while analyzing students' drawings.

Key Words

Primary School, Art Education, Children's Drawings, Semiotics.

Post-modernism focuses on images conveying cultural meanings and on sociological games played between various cultural forms and institutions (McRobbie, 1999, p. 35). Codeless images achieve transmitting their messages to everyone and thereby help reveal new socio-cultural differences and social formations by shaping the consciousness of the society (Lyotard, 1990, p.18; Salomon, 1988, p. 4; Walling, 2005, p. 1). Post-modernism has occurred with the increasing relationship between modernism and visuals (Mirzoeff, 1998, p. 3). At this point, visual culture plays an important role in analyzing the complex structures related to the visuals of the post-modern period. Visual culture, a synthesis based on seeing things and on what is shown (Karadag, 2004, p. 13), is the determiner of the responses given to television, movies, advertisements, art works, constructions and urban environments (McRobbie, 1999; Mirzoeff, 1998; Mitchell, 1995; Rogoff, 1998). What is important in visual culture is not the visual in question but the meanings the visual conveys for the individual, the society and the world. Images that help become aware of meanings rather than aesthetic admiration and related evaluations (Herrmenn, 2005, p. 41) are chosen not due to its own aesthetical value but due to the power of its message (Keifer-Boyd, Amburgy, & Knight, 2003, p. 46). Images show not the thing actually seen but its representations in human consciousness. Human consciousness is formed with the layers of history and culture (Leppert, 2002). Individuals start forming new meanings from their own perspectives when they gather the codes of their culture and the images they have stored in their main memory since birth (Türkkan, 2008). The semiotic approach has increasingly gained importance so that people, who live in a visual bombardment today, can analyze the codes included in visual culture and understand the form of visual communication. …

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