Attachment or Antithesis? Middle School Children and Writing as Relational Consciousness

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Book Chapter

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Writing Spaces: Writing as Transformative, Scholarly and Creative Practice pp. 21-31



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130105 Primary Education (excl. Maori)| 190402 Creative Writing (incl. Playwriting)

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Using a bricolage of design and methodologies, the research findings unpacked in this paper emerged out of a qualitative project that sought to illuminate a key aspect of the ‘four resource model’ of writing. This critical point of speculative focus was the notion of the habitus-writing connection, and how, if at all, it arose within the writing of twenty-six grade six students in one Catholic school in northern California. The ‘four resource model’ takes up Bordieu’s1 concept of habitus as being internalized predispositions, which are the ‘product of a shared history in a child’s family’2 In regard to writing, it has been ventured that young children are subject to both the home life literary influences, as well as the literary aspects within their socio-cultural spheres. However, these influences are not set in cognitive-concrete, as they also appear to place their own perspectives into the texts they create: innovating and exploring as they write. While initial interrogation of the data revealed evidence of a habitus related to genre, ensuing ‘focused coding’ revealed evidence of a secondary layer of reflexivity underpinning the surface features of their texts. This layer of meaning making had characteristics of a melding of attachment and the spiritual notion of ‘relational consciousness.’ It would appear that, for these children at least, a key component of personal writing is a connectivity grounded in relationships.


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