Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Secondary Education

Major Professor

Patricia Jones, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Patricia Alvarez-McHatton, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Allan Feldman, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Valerie Janesick, Ph.D.


photo-elicitation, pre-service teacher expectations, teacher preparation


As students begin secondary school, they are charged with learning more content, at a faster pace and with increased pressure from accountability measures (Dreschler, Shumaker, & Woodruff, 2004). If secondary students' reading difficulties are not identified and remedied, the gap between struggling readers and their peers widens every academic year (Edmonds, Vaughn, Wexler, Rutebuch, Cable, Tackett, and Schnakenberg, 2009).

The task of reading instruction primarily falls on English teachers, but Strickland and Alvermann (2004) note that while secondary English Teachers do have more preparation in reading instruction compared to other content area teachers, they are not as prepared as they need to be and do not provide reading instruction even when given the opportunity. Additionally, little attention has been given to how teacher should be taught to teach reading (Moats & Foorman, 2003) and even less attention has been given to reading instruction at the secondary level (Edmonds, et al., 2009).

Pre-service teacher's beliefs influence how they take in information presented in their teacher education program and classroom instructional decisions (Holt-Reynolds, 1992; Richardson, 2003). However few studies have examined English education pre-service teachers beliefs about teaching struggling readers at the secondary level. The purpose of this study is to describe and explain secondary English education pre-service teachers' beliefs about teaching struggling readers using Photovoice.

This study uses a combination of constructivism, Lakoff and Johnson's concept of metaphor, and interpretivism as the theoretical framework. Research methods examining beliefs often involve using surveys or interviews (i.e. Sadaf, Newby, & Ertmer, 2012; Sandvik, van Dall, & Ader, 2013). However, these methods may not provide as representational responses as a method that allows participants to respond through multiple mediums and through metaphor. This study uses a modified version of the Photovoice method to examine secondary English education pre-service teachers' beliefs. Because Photovoice has not been used to examine beliefs of this population, an additional aim of this study is to examine Photovoice as a reflection method. The research questions guiding this study are:

1. What are English education pre-service teacher beliefs' about teaching struggling adolescent readers?

2. What are English education pre-service teacher beliefs about themselves as readers?

3. In what ways, if any, did Photovoice facilitate reflection on beliefs about reading instruction?

Findings suggest English education pre-service teachers had not considered struggling readers as part of their classrooms, did not understand the complexities of the reading process, held a deficit view of struggling readers, assumed a teacher's identity, saw reading as an experience/event, found the discussion in the Photovoice process helpful in reflection, Photovoice helped address some issues with teacher reflection, and Photovoice helped develop as well as capture beliefs. Implications for teacher education are discussed.