A picture with a caption: Using photovoice as cultural self-reflection in communication sciences and disorders

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Special Education and Communication Sciences and Disorders

Publication Title

Journal of Communication Disorders


Purpose: Self-reflection is an essential component of developing cultural competence. However, there is a paucity of research on how to best accomplish cultural self-reflection in CSD courses. Therefore, the purpose of this research study is to examine the teaching and learning practice of using Photovoice as a means of cultural self-reflection in a foundational, multicultural course in CSD. Method: This qualitative investigation employed a phenomenological approach with emphasis on the scholarship of teaching and learning. Data gathering involved completion of a Photovoice assignment and a prompted reflection of the assignment. The Photovoice assignment entailed the students reflecting and examining their culture. Then, the students submitted two photographs, one that represents a strength of a culture they identify with and one that represents a challenge of a culture they identify with. The students presented their cultural strength and challenges in small and large group discussions. The prompted reflection required the students to address questions in a written or video-recorded response. When the course was completed, the researcher commenced line-by-line focused coding to cluster frequently used terms and common experiences into specific themes. Results: The student participants shared photos of cultural strengths and challenges, discussed these photos in small and large groups, and completed a prompted reflection of the Photovoice assignment. While each student’s project and reflection were unique, common themes prevailed. The themes of safety, privilege, and mental health emerged from the Photovoice projects and the themes of learning and formating arose from the reflections on use of the project toward cultural competence. Conclusions: The results of this study suggests that Photovoice is a valuable tool for cultural self-reflection and learning in all courses in CSD programs. In this way cultural self-reflection and the progression toward cultural competence is an on-going process where students are better prepared to provide client-centered, culturally competent care for all people.

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