Original Research

A critical multimodal discourse analysis of drawings to ascertain identity and self-concept

Annaly M. Strauss, Priscilla S. Tolmen, Keshni Bipath
South African Journal of Childhood Education | Vol 13, No 1 | a1240 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajce.v13i1.1240 | © 2023 Annaly M. Strauss, Priscilla S. Tolmen, Keshni Bipath | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 29 June 2022 | Published: 12 January 2023

About the author(s)

Annaly M. Strauss, Department of Education, Faculty of Early Childhood Education, University of Namibia, Keetmanshoop, Namibia
Priscilla S. Tolmen, Department of Education, Faculty of Early Childhood Education, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa
Keshni Bipath, Department of Education, Faculty of Early Childhood Education, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa

Abstract

Background: Within the multilingual context of KwaZulu Natal (KZN), learners in Grades 1–3 are taught in their native language which is isiZulu. From Grade 4, English or Afrikaans becomes the medium of instruction. Yet, many parents prefer that their children be taught in English. It is the assumption that young learners’ self-concept and identity affect English language learning and academic achievement.

Aim: The study analysed the interplay between self-concept, and identity in Grade 1’s literacy practices.

Setting: The study was conducted in a Grade 1 class in KZN, South Africa.

Methods: The study drew on Critical Multimodal Discourse Analysis (CMDA) to collect, analyse and interpret data. Four participants were purposefully chosen to participate in the study. Data were generated from children’s drawings and online interviews.

Results: The findings showed how learners’ self-concept and identity were influenced by their family contexts, and feelings experienced in homes. This study suggests that primary caregivers and teachers create spaces for literacy practice to increase learners’ self-concept and identity as speakers and writers of English. Using alternative communication strategies allow learners to (1) think more deeply about what they value, (2) gain an understanding of who they are in relation to their family members and (3) reveal what their cultural preferences are.

Conclusion: The study argues that besides peripheral factors, including family, teachers, and the community, children’s self-concept and identity are influenced by their experiences within their social sphere, including school. The study recommends further research to explore teachers influence on young children’s self-concept as English Second Language speakers.

Contribution: The study’s contribution towards knowledge is captured through CMDA to discover and understand learners’ self-concept and identity as English language speakers and writers.


Keywords

self-concept; identity; drawings; literacy; critical multimodal discourse analysis; learners.

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