As the papers in this session testify, the study of graphic skills is proceeding apace. The field is wide ranging and heterogeneous, a situation good for all involved, except, perhaps for those charged with the task of attempting to pull together the papers of a symposium. The reader thus forewarned, we venture to suggest here several organizing principles. To begin with, we might think of research on graphic skills as roughly classifiable into two different camps. One approach uses graphic products, such as drawings or writing, as an index of children’s general cognitive skills and level of development. We might think of researchers in this tradition as looking through graphic products to cognition. This is the kind of approach that is associated with Piaget, for example. The paper by Paul Light exemplifies this approach. Here, we see how drawings can be used as communicative tools to reveal conditions under which children can capture their own perspective, and those under which children fail to do so.
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