Wonderings and place learning maps

Back in the classroom the children's reflections on their learning were framed in terms of their 'wonderings'. These wonderings guide their inquiry learning and reveal generative possibilities for shaping their ability to enter the world of other living beings:

Do fish get bored?

What happens when the animals are bitten by a mozzie?

Why do birds have different designed feet?

How come ducks are dry after swimming?

How does sap grow?

Why do miskidos like blood?

The draw-and-write artefacts were an unexpected outcome of the Blue day at Morwell River wetlands. After their day of learning in the wetlands, the teachers asked the children to illustrate what they had learned in order to present their learning for the pre-service teachers. Max delivered the children's learning artefacts when I asked him what the children learned in the wetlands. One class had produced drawings and writing on lined paper. The other had used blank A3 sheets of paper for a combination of drawing and writing. The combination of image and text created by the children in this class was far richer data than the class with lined text.

The children had produced a combination of drawing and printed words on A3 sheets of paper with coloured and lead pencils. Text and image could be spatially arranged on the blank page according to the child's imagination. I reviewed the set of 39 draw-and-write artefacts from this class in detail and made notes about how to make sense of them. I decided to call them place learning maps because the children were imaging their sense of learning in the wetlands spatially on the large white sheets of paper. I formulated questions about the spatial arrangement of images on the page and in particular the relationship between image and text. Just as Chrissiejoy had articulated the meanings of her paintings in relation to oral stories and written text, I asked the following questions of the children's learning maps:

What is the central image?

How are the images arranged spatially?

What is the relationship between the images?

What is the relationship between image and text?

In moving between readings of particular maps and the whole data set, I started to get a sense of how the maps could be clustered into groups. My sense was that this clustering enabled an insight into the central question of how an embodied experience of learning in Country can enter representation to become available for pedagogical work. I use the lens of Thinking through Country to analyse four of these maps in detail to explore how image, text and Country are assembled in these maps.

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