The Potential of Photo-Talks to Reveal the Development of Scientific Discourses

DOI: 10.4236/ce.2012.32033   PDF   HTML     3,643 Downloads   5,835 Views   Citations


This study explores the potential of a photo-elicitation technique, photo-talks (Serriere, 2010), for understanding how young girls understand, employ and translate new scientific discourses. Over the course of a nine week period, 24 kindergarten girls in an urban girls’ academy were observed, videotaped, photographed and interviewed while they were immersed into scientific discourse. This paper explicitly describes how their emerging discursive patterns were made visible through this methodological tool. The findings are presented in vignettes in three themes uncovered during our analysis which are the following: Presented the recollection of the scientific Discourse, Described the understanding of scientific Discourse, and Created an opportunity for the translation into everyday discourse. Science educators can benefit from this methodological tool as a reflective tool with their participants, to validate and/or complicate data. Additionally, this methodological tool serves to make discourse patterns more visible by providing a visual backdrop to the conversations thus revealing the development as it is occurring in young children.

Share and Cite:

Quigley, C. & Buck, G. (2012). The Potential of Photo-Talks to Reveal the Development of Scientific Discourses. Creative Education, 3, 208-216. doi: 10.4236/ce.2012.32033.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


[1] Bhabha, H. K. (1994). The location of culture. New York: Routledge.
[2] Biesta, G. (2004). “Mind the gap!”: Communication and the educational relation. In C. Bingham, & A. Sidorkin (Eds.), No education without relation. New York: Peter Lang Publishers.
[3] Boyne, G. M. (2003). Utilizing traditional knowledge in a scientific setting. Winds of Change, 18, 52-53.
[4] Brown, B. A. (2004). Discursive identity: Assimilation into the culture of science and its implications for minority students. Journal of Research and Science Teaching, 41, 810-834.
[5] Brown, B. A. (2006). “It isn’t no slang that can be said about this stuff”: Language, identity, and appropriating science discourse. Journal of Research and Science Teaching, 43, 96-126.
[6] Calabrese, B. A., (2007). Science learning in urban settings: Seeking new ways of praxis through critical ethnography Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 38, 899-917.
[7] Chin, C. (2006). Classroom interaction in science: Teacher questioning and feedback to students’ responses. International Journal of Science Education, 28, 1315-1346.
[8] Davis, J. M. (1998). Understanding the meanings of children: A reflexive process. Children & Society, 12, 325-335.
[9] Delpit, L. D. (1988). The silenced dialogue: Pedagogy and power in educating other people’s children. Harvard Educational Review, 58, 280-298.
[10] Ewald, W. (1996). Black self/white self. Double Take Magazine, Summer, 54-66.
[11] Ewald, W. (2005). In peace and harmony: Carver portraits. Richmond, VA: Hand Workshop Art Center.
[12] Ewald, W., & Lightfoot, A. (2001). I wanna take me a picture: Teaching photography and writing to children. Boston: Center for Documentary Studies and Beacon Press.
[13] Foucault, M. (1975). The birth of the clinic: An archaeology of medical perception. London: Routledge.
[14] Gallas, K. (1995). Talking their way into science: Hearing children’s questions and theories, responding with curricula. New York: Teachers College Press.
[15] Gee, J. P. (1996). Social linguistics and literacies: Ideology in discourses (2nd ed.). London: Falmer Press.
[16] Gonzalez, N., Moll, L., & Amanti, C. (Eds.). (2005). Funds of knowledge: Theorizing practices in households, communities, and classrooms. Mahwah, NJ: Routledge.
[17] Gutierrez, K., Baquedano-Lopez, A. H., & Chiu, M. M. (1999). Building a culture of collaboration through hybrid language practices. Theory in Practice, 38, 87-93.
[18] Gutierrez, K., Baquedano-Lopez, P., Tejead, C., & Rivera, A. (1999). Hybridity as a tool for understanding literacy learning: Building on a syncretic approach. American Educational Research Association.
[19] Hanrahan, M. (1999). Conceptual change and changes of the heart: A reflexive study of research in science literacy in the classroom. Unpublished Dissertation, Brisbane: Queensland University of Technology.
[20] Hanrahan, M. (2006). Highlighting hybridity: A critical discourse analysis of teacher talk in science classrooms. Science Education, 90, 8-43.
[21] Hogan, K., & Corey, C. (2001). Viewing classrooms as cultural contexts for fostering scientific literacy. Anthropology and Education Quarterly, 32, 214-244.
[22] Hyde, K. (2005). Portraits and collaborations; a reflection on the work of Wendy Ewald. Visual Studies, 20, 172-190.
[23] Kagan, N. (Ed.). (1980). Influencing human interaction—Eighteen years with IPR. New York: Wiley.
[24] Kistler, A. (2005). Making pictures in Carver. In A. Kistler (Ed.), In peace and harmony: Carver portraits. Richmond, VA: Hand Workshop Art Center.
[25] Lee, O. (2001). Culture and language in science education: What do we know and what do we need to know? Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 38, 499-501.
[26] Lee, O., & Fradd, S. H. (1998). Science for all, including students from non-English language backgrounds. Educational Researcher, 27, 12- 21.
[27] Lemke, J. (1990). Talking science. Norwood, NJ: Ablex.
[28] Lemke, J. (2001). Articulating communities: Sociocultural perspectives on science education. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 38, 296-316.
[29] McKinley, E. (2007). Postcolonialism, indigenous students, and science education. In S. K. Abell, & N. G. Lederman (Eds.), Handbook of Research on Science Education (pp. 199-226). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
[30] Moje, E. B., Tehani, C., Carrillo, R., & Marx, R. W. (2001). Maestro, what is “quality”?: Language, literacy, and discourse in project-based science. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 38, 469-498.
[31] Nation, I. S. P. (1982). Beginning to learn foreign vocabulary: A review of research. Regional Language Centre Journal, 13, 14-36.
[32] Serriere, S. (2010). Carpettime democracy: Digital photography and socialconsciousness in the early childhood classroom. The Social Studies, 102, 60-68.
[33] Wang, C. (2005). Photovoice: Social change through photography. URL (last checked 6 April 2007).

comments powered by Disqus

Copyright © 2020 by authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.

Creative Commons License

This work and the related PDF file are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.