Publication details [#582]

Taylor, Roberta. 2012. Messing about with metaphor: multimodal aspects to children’s creative meaning making. Literacy 46 (3) : 156–166. 11 pp.
Publication type
Article in journal
Publication language
Place, Publisher
Wiley-Blackwell, on behalf of the United Kingdom Literacy Association


The paper presents select findings from a 3-year research on child-to-child interaction, carried out in a Year 5 (ages 9-10) classroom in a primary school in Northern England. The research project involved using multimodal discourse analysis to investigate the creative and collaborative meaning-making processes enacted by children in spontaneous classroom discourse. Video recordings of classroom communication between children were analysed in a functional perspective based on Halliday (1985/1994). The author discusses four examples taken from a geography lesson on the water cycle, which included a role-play activity: various modes of interaction are taken into account, such as spoken language, posture, gesture, facial expression and affordances of space and environment. The analysis shows that children play with the fixed elements they are socialised and encultured into to create meaning in a collaborative way; metaphors and idiomatic expressions, in particular, are re-presented and re-visited by children through all the semiotic resources available to them to interact and make new and creative meaning.