Uncovering Pre-Service Teacher Beliefs about Young Children: A Photographic Elicitation Methodology




Stockall, Nancy

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Western Australian Institute for Educational Research Inc. (Issues in Educational Research)


This illustrative paper provides an introduction to using mixed qualitative methods of photo-elicitation, face to face interviews and semiotic analysis to uncover pre-service students' beliefs about young children. The researchers share their experience on conducting a study using photo-elicitation and engaging pre-service teachers in a discussion about their beliefs of young children. The researchers found that the photo elicitation technique was useful in getting in-depth interview data but that the conversations about the photos actually entrenched students' current beliefs about children rather than provoking doubt or reflective practice. The researchers suggest that Pierce's semiotic theory holds promise for changing beliefs of pre-service teachers through the creation of a dialectic (ie, a context of reconciliation of opposing beliefs). While photo-elicitation provides a richness of data, dialogue is not enough to actually induce change.



reflective teaching, teaching methods, preservice teachers, young children, student teacher attitudes, photography, semiotics, qualitative research, interviews


Stockall, N. & Davis, S. (2011). Uncovering pre-service beliefs about young children: A photographic elicitation methodology. Issues in Educational Research 21(2): 192-209.