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Title: Viewer Engagement in Children's Animated Television Shows: A Systemic Functional Perspective
Contributor(s): Watson, Lindall Ann (author); Unsworth, Leonard  (supervisor); Chan, Eveline  (supervisor)orcid 
Conferred Date: 2019-02-11
Copyright Date: 2018-07-18
Open Access: Yes
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Abstract: The overall aim of this thesis is to investigate what makes children's animated television shows (CATS) so apparently engaging, and what kinds of values are being promoted by the phenomenally popular characters in these shows. The investigation is pursued from a semiotic perspective of engagement and value positions - theoretically and methodologically necessitating a bringing together of recent systemic functional linguistic (SFL) research into linguistic resources for conveying attitude, and systemic functional semiotic (SFS) research on the resources of images for constructing viewer/image interaction. By examining the interplay between the two semiotics, image and verbiage, in the way they afford interpersonal meaning in animated texts, this research aims to give insights into how CATS contribute to the cultural participation of young children (0-6 years) within a digital consumer context.
The research method involved four stages. The first stage consisted of a parent survey which yielded the wide range of young children's television (animated and non-animated) programs from which two episodes of CATS were selected: Dora the Explorer (DTE) and Charlie and Lola (C&L). Analysis of the narrative structure of each CATS, characterising the second stage revealed the difference between a quest challenge and a quest contest. The third stage, examined the dialogic discourse of each CATS to reveal two kinds of viewer roles: an active team member role and an active interpretative confidant role. The description of the distinctive nature of each viewer role was enabled through intermodal analysis. The analysis of the language and image resources in DTE revealed the engagement strategies that encourage inclusion through opportunities to rally together as a team and celebrate success, whereas, the analysis of the language and image resources in C&L revealed engagement strategies that invited interpretation of the familial banter between two siblings. The analysis of the fourth stage focused on the evaluative resources of language and image revealing how the discourse of each quest promotes prosocial values. The study found that the quest challenge (DTE) invests considerable work to share the values of social responsibility through the deployment of evaluative resources, while the quest contest (C&L) was found to use evaluative resources to manage the positive family values of congenial relations and mutual respect.
It is through the detailed investigation of the interactive relationships that this research produced an understanding of the structures that are crafted to promote socialisation and enculturation practices to young children, as well as the multimodal construction of interpersonal meaning in CATS. The implication of these findings may assist early childhood practitioners to recognise the beneficial contribution CATS can make as resources to a contemporary early childhood values curriculum.
Publication Type: Thesis Doctoral
Fields of Research (FoR) 2008: 200401 Applied Linguistics and Educational Linguistics
130299 Curriculum and Pedagogy not elsewhere classified
Fields of Research (FoR) 2020: 390104 English and literacy curriculum and pedagogy (excl. LOTE, ESL and TESOL)
470401 Applied linguistics and educational linguistics
390302 Early childhood education
Socio-Economic Objective (SEO) 2008: 930399 Curriculum not elsewhere classified
Socio-Economic Objective (SEO) 2020: 160304 Teaching and instruction technologies
160101 Early childhood education
HERDC Category Description: T2 Thesis - Doctorate by Research
Appears in Collections:School of Education
Thesis Doctoral

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