The Effects of Observation Coaching on Children's Graphic Representations

Date of Original Version

Spring 2008



Abstract or Description

Education programs have fostered advanced levels of graphic representation ability in young children but have not detailed the specific mechanisms responsible for the accelerated growth. Research suggests that between 6 and 8 years of age children begin to observe more carefully before drawing and that observation prompts aid children's development of graphic representations. This study experimentally investigated the effects of observation coaching on the graphic representations that children produce when looking at models of animate and inanimate objects. Drawings were collected from 22 kindergartners once a week for a month. Half of the children received observation coaching that instructed them to look at objects from multiple angles before, during, and after drawing an object; the remaining half of the children did not receive observation coaching. Both casual inspection and statistical analyses of data from the videotaped sessions revealed that the coaching was effective at encouraging children to look at objects more frequently during the drawing process. Additionally, each child's drawings were evaluated using a detailed scoring system. This rating system revealed that children receiving observation coaching had significantly greater improvements in drawing scores than children who did not receive coaching. All children receiving coaching had improvements in their drawing scores, with advances primarily involving enhanced detail and conceptual accuracy.


Published In

Early Childhood Research and Practice, 10, 1.