Using Photovoice to Identify Sociocultural Factors Affecting Barrio Students for Influencing Academic and Social Change

Sociocultural factors affecting students’ academic performance are difficult to identify for educators, especially of those students from the barrio; a population of students afflicted with social, cultural, economic, and linguistic barriers. Due to the lack of access or cultural preparedness in the domains of barrio student community, home, and school, educators may not “know” the student enough to adequately modify or accommodate their instructional approaches for increased academic success. Through the use of Photovoice methodology, a group of 4th through 6th grade elementary school students was given the opportunity to use cameras to capture images and write personal narratives for the purpose of identifying sociocultural factors, from their own perspective, in the domains of community, home, and school affecting their academic success. Pre- and post-surveys, based on the student images and narratives, suggest that the educators of this student population were not fully aware of sociocultural factors that could potentially affect their students’ progress. The findings also indicate that Photovoice methodology is an effective way to aid educators in the identification of difficult, or otherwise hidden factors, associated with academic success, and improve the prospect of increased active educator participation in the respective domains.