My Place: Exploring children’s place-related identities through reading and writing
The recent spatial turn in education, within and beyond the discipline of geography (Soja 2009), has led to increasing interest in research into the ways people interpret and create the world through reading and writing (Leander and Sheehy 2004; Bavidge 2006; Leander and Rowe 2006; Mackey 2010; Comber et al. 2006; Kostogriz and Tsolidis 2008). In this paper, we consider the ways children perceive and represent place-related identities through reading and writing. We draw upon two theoretical concepts in considering both the text that we used, and the texts that were produced by children within our research. These theoretical concepts – place as bundle of trajectories (Massey 2005) and the transaction between the reader and the text (Rosenblatt 1938/1995), both of which are discussed more fully below – encourage connections to be made between place, identity and text, and point to the importance of such connectedness in children’s educational experiences. We will oﬀer a brief outline of our interdisciplinary theoretical framework, including how it relates to My Place (Wheatley and Rawlins 2008), the text we used as a stimulus for some of the classroom-based work in the research. We will then show how two of the theoretical concepts from the framework were applied to some of the texts the children created to consider their place-related identities and the ways they are constructed.