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I-Click Photography: An Exploration of Student Perspectives on Learning and Engagement


I-Click Photography: An Exploration of Student Perspectives on Learning and Engagement

Monette, Cassandra (2016) I-Click Photography: An Exploration of Student Perspectives on Learning and Engagement. Masters thesis, Concordia University.

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As has been seen in previous research, school engagement is a necessary factor in student success (Al-Hendawi, 2012; Baker, Derrer, Davis, Dinklage-Travis, & Linder, 2001; Boyle & Lipman, 2002; Covell, 2009; Gamoran, 1992; Simons-Morton & Chen, 2009; Willms, 1999a; Wolfe & Mash, 2006). However, students with emotional and/or behavioural difficulties tend to have lower rates of academic success and school completion (Wagner et al., 2003; Kauffman, 2008; Ryan, Pierce, & Mooney, 2008). Shedding light on how these students perceive their learning environments can help to facilitate the development of effective prevention and intervention programs that seek to promote success for all learners.
This research study aims to explore students’ perspectives on their learning environments at school, through the use of participatory action research (PAR). In collaboration with the teachers and parents, a photography project took place at an elementary school in the Montreal area in Canada. Seven elementary students from grade one to grade six, who had been identified as having socio-emotional difficulties participated and took photographs of what was most important to them about learning at school. Students were interviewed about their photographs and were then invited to share their stories and photographs with their teachers, parents, and peers through a final closing photo exhibition. Teacher focus groups were also conducted in order to understand how these students’ environments may play a role in their learning.
Using grounded theory to guide this qualitative analysis of the students’ visual storytelling narratives, we explored emerging themes and patterns from these narratives to understand student perceptions. Interestingly, consistent with other research pointing to the importance of family-school collaboration, students’ perspectives of their school environment seems to always be coupled with how it relates to their home lives. Secondly, although this study discussed learning and engagement, student narratives seem to focus more on social relationships as highly influential in their school life; the students did not seem to include much on academic engagement. Finally case study summaries using focus group discussions and field notes reveal the strengths and challenges that each child was perceived to have, as well as how each child engaged with the methodology of using photography as a tool to express various needs and wants.
Overall it seems that the findings may suggest that these students put other forms of learning and engagement at the forefront of their school experience. With this understanding, a supportive environment can be created for these students and adapted to their perceptions of engagement in school. Final discussions include reflections on the methodology as a school engagement activity.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Education
Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Authors:Monette, Cassandra
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:M.A.
Program:Child Studies
Date:11 January 2016
Thesis Supervisor(s):Petrakos, Harriet
ID Code:980816
Deposited On:02 Jun 2016 15:40
Last Modified:18 Jan 2018 17:52
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