The main aims were to explore how professionals in mainstream primary schools use graphic symbols; professionals' beliefs related to graphic symbols; and collaboration amongst these professionals.
In order to identify four schools suitable to participate in the research project, a postal survey was sent to all mainstream primary schools in two local authorities in England and all similar schools in Cyprus. For the subsequent data collection in the identified schools, a variety of methods were employed: interviews, observations, and reflective journals kept by participants.
Results revealed numerous ways that graphic symbols are used, including support for childrens' communication and support of textual materials. In addition, the findings indicated that professionals tend to use symbols in a way that relates to their professional role. Lastly, although all professionals expressed the desire for collaboration with colleagues, various difficulties often prevented such collaboration.
This research project has highlighted that graphic symbols are most often used by professionals in a way that is directly related to their profession role in the school, whether teacher, language therapist, special teacher, etc. Also apparent was the desire of professionals to collaborate in their work, despite the fact that this was usually difficult to realize.