doi: 10.5191/jiaee.2018.25407

The Photo Narrative Process: Students’ Intercultural Learning in Agriculture

Emily Bost
Undergraduate Researcher
Texas A&M University
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Gary Wingenbach
Texas A&M University
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Cultural heritage describes our way of life. It comes from previous generational traditions and incorporates our current constructed and natural environments, and tangible artifacts. The photo narrative process, derived from photovoice, combines photography and narrative expression about artifacts important to one’s way of life. The purpose of this study was to explore effects of the photo narrative process on students’ intercultural learning in agriculture. Photo narrative assignments were developed for students to capture facets of their cultural heritage, and their host countries’ cultural heritage from three separate study abroad programs. Archival data were collected (i.e., course assignments to illustrate one’s cultural heritage via photo and text) and visual social semiotics were used to analyze data. The Developmental Model of Intercultural Sensitivity provided context for students’ levels of intercultural competence. The results showed participants experienced frame shifts (i.e., perspective change in worldviews) from ethnocentrism to ethnorelativism, as evidenced in the rhetoric of their artifacts after participating in the photo narrative process. The photo narrative process is a valuable educational technique; its purposeful use helps learners experience and progress through the stages of intercultural competence. Photo narrative takes advantage of young people’s preferred communication methods (i.e., social media), combining image and text, which empowers them through expressive communication and reflection. Purposeful photo narrative processes may be adapted to help learners explore perspective shifts in racism, classism, or religion to increase understanding and empathetic response between dissimilar groups.

Keywords: Intercultural competence, photo narrative, cultural heritage

Note. This project was produced through Texas A&M University’s Undergraduate Research Scholars Program.


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