Photography for Teacher Preparation in Literacy: Innovations in Instruction

By Cappello, Marva | Issues in Teacher Education, Spring 2011 | Go to article overview

Photography for Teacher Preparation in Literacy: Innovations in Instruction


Cappello, Marva, Issues in Teacher Education


(ProQuest: ... denotes "strike-through" in the original text omitted.)

My new graduate students in Curriculum and Instruction at San Diego State University reacted with surprise when they discovered that the syllabus indicated no requisite textbook. Instead, access to a camera was required. "Any camera will do: disposable, film, or digital." I recommended several texts to the students, including Wendy Elwald and Alexandra Lightfoot's I Wanna Take Me a Picture: Teaching Photography and Writing to Children, but none of these texts were necessary to be successful in the course. This was during one summer semester when I had the opportunity to teach a course entitled "Innovations in Instruction." My broad goals for the course focused on experienced-based and student-centered learning. These unusual course requirements unnerved some students and motivated others, engaging all that first afternoon.

This cohort of 26 teachers was enrolled in their final semester at the university, many of them already at work on their master's projects. All were credentialed teachers with varying years of classroom experience. Many of them taught in elementary schools across San Diego and Riverside Counties, others worked in high schools. One teacher worked in a California state-run program for juvenile offenders, and another taught abroad during the school years, returning home only for the summer. This cohort worked with children from diverse linguistic, ethnic, and economic backgrounds. The teachers represented a similar diversity in socioeconomic background, including those who learned English as their second language in school while speaking Spanish, Tagalog, and Farsi at home.

The curriculum of this class was unusual for me, too. My typical teaching load includes courses in literacy methods and assessment. However, I did bring two important characteristics to the experience: (1) my belief in constructivist principles for teaching and learning, and (2) my background in photography.

At the core of my personal learning theory is the belief that we are all active learners who use our own prior knowledge to make sense of new information, also known as constructivism. These ideas led me to explore the potential of experience-based learning where instruction is student-centered. Elements of constructivism and other social-epistemic theories are evident throughout my research in literacy. My background in photography includes a Bachelor of Fine Arts from a noted school of photography (Rochester Institute of Technology), several years managing photo libraries for advertising agencies, and recent research projects exploring the potential of photography for inquiry in education (Cappello, 2005, 2006; Cappello & Hollingsworth, 2008).

This article describes the students' experiences and my practice around one major course assignment, The Neighborhood Alphabet Book, developed to effectively demonstrate course objectives. This project emerged naturally and opportunistically from the crossroads where my background and interest in photography intersect with my involvement in teacher education in literacy.

Innovations in Instruction

This course encourages teachers to explore instructional practices, with an emphasis on innovative teaching strategies. I focused the curriculum on experience-based learning, a model that integrates theory and practice and promotes student-centered learning within a strong context of creative and critical thinking (Dewey, 1938; Kolb, 1984). Photography workshops in the curriculum encouraged creative thinking and served as a tool for expressing critical ideas and understandings. Indeed visual literacy-knowledge of and experience with visual conventions- was a significant component of the course because it is an interpretation-based process. Visual literacy "emanate[s] from a nonverbal core, it becomes the basic literacy in the thought processes of comprehending and composing" (Sinatra 1986, p. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Photography for Teacher Preparation in Literacy: Innovations in Instruction
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.