Cultural Historical Approach to Thinking
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Making Sense of Photographs.

In some contexts, a photograph may be worth a thousand words; on its own, however, a photograph means little because it underdetermines its interpretation giving rise to many different ways of seeing and understanding it. The purpose of this study was to understand how high school students understand photographs that were accompanied by different amounts and types of co-text (caption, main text). The data for this study consists of video-recorded interviews with twelve Brazilian high school students. What students perceived was in part a function of the presence of caption and main text, which therefore not only described what could be seen but also constituted a pedagogy for looking at photographs. We conclude that high schools not only develop subject matter literacy but also a literacy concerning photographs.

Pozzer-Ardenghi, L., & Roth, W.-M. (2005). Making sense of photographs. Science Education, 89(2), 219-241.

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