Date of Award

1-1-1994

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Education

School

School of Education

Faculty

Faculty of Education

First Advisor

Judith Rivalland

Abstract

Based on the theory of experiential learning for reading and writing, the purpose of this study was to observe and describe changes in the writing outcomes of Year Four children after the activation of the senses of smell, touch and taste. Children's attitudes towards writing, and gender differences in their writing were minor foci of the study. Middle primary children were selected because there is an absence of previous research which relates directly to sensory learning and middle primary children's writing. A descriptive case-study methodology was undertaken with a group of twenty nine Year Four children of which six target children, who represented three ability groups, formed the focus for closer observation and interviewing procedures. Children's writing samples, done before a series of sensory activities, were analysed using two holistic scoring criteria, to provide benchmark data of the children's writing abilities, and for the selection of the target children. In addition, writing samples from each sensory activity were analysed using the constant comparative method, to assess qualitative changes which occurred. An attitude questionnaire was administered and scored before the sensory activities in order to provide thicker benchmark data for realistic analyses. Attitude data were triangulated with self reports from recorded interviews, all writing samples, and observation notes. Results indicated that the sensory programme I which included sensory manipulation I discussion, pre-writing, independent writing, and sharing components, enabled the children to create topics, and experiment with a wide variety of genres for their written texts. Some children were able to identify the senses which were beneficial to their writing, and use them to write more effectively. The children demonstrated noticeable changes in their attitudes towards writing, and some gender differences in topic and genre choices were evident.

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