Using PhotoVoice to Empower K-12 Teachers and Students
Keywords:PhotoVoice, authentic writing, student activism, student engagement, english language learners, photography
PhotoVoice is a community and participatory action research method based in grassroots empowerment education, critical feminist theory, and documentary photography which enables people with little money, power, or status to communicate needed changes to policymakers. Prior to this in-school research project, studies of PhotoVoice in the United States focused on adolescents in out-of-school educational settings (Chio and Fandt, 2007; Strack, Magill, and McDonagh, 2004; Wilson et al., 2007; Zenkov and Harmon, 2009; The Viewfinder Project, 2010). In this study, teacher participants found that English language learners and resistant writers were motivated to identify the impact of personal and political realities in their lives in order to question existing structures and to imagine alternative futures. The use of PhotoVoice in K–12 classrooms offers an accessible, motivating, and technologically rich entry point and an authentic forum for emerging young writers to share their photos, their writing, and their stories with others to create powerful visual representations to transform existing conditions in their communities.
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