We invite other CSL students and teachers, ESOL students and instructors, literacy activists, and anyone else to develop their own projects of Literacy Through Photography. Besides consulting the sources we have included in the Links Section, we encourage you to consider how we did our LTP project. To assist you, here is a step-by-step summary of how Assumption Spanish students implemented LTP in three different ESOL classrooms at Training Resources of America (TRA-Inc) in Worcester, MA.
Step One: Introducing LTP to ESOL adult students
How we did it...
What is it?
In this Literacy Through Photography project, ESOL students were invited to answer the question “What is it like for you to live in Worcester?” not with words (initially), but with a photograph.
This activity tried to invert the way we “normally” produce knowledge. That is, instead of thinking of knowledge as information and ideas transmitted from teacher to students, we recognized that ESOL students already possessed important knowledge that needed to be shared with others. This exercise focused on students as the primary generators of meaning and we looked for ways to communicate this knowledge within and outside of the classroom. At the end of the exercise, we organized a public exhibition of the photographs and the accompanying written compositions at Assumption College’s Emmanuel d’Alzon Library. The exhibit was advertised all over the city and was free and open to the general public.
Guidelines for ESOL students
The Assumption teaching assistants provided ESOL students with a disposable camera, that is, a tool so that they could teach others something new and personal about the place where they now live.
This is the information we shared with the ESOL students:
You will receive a disposable camera today. In the next few days, we would like you to try to answer the following question by taking a photo or two. The idea is for you to use photography to tell a story as an answer to the following question:
“What is life like for you in Worcester (or in the U.S.)?”
How to prepare for this activity?
Please think hard about how you want to answer this question. Remember that you can only take one or two photos to answer this question. After you take your photo, please return the camera to you one of your teaching assistants from Assumption College the next time you come back to class. The teaching assistants will develop the photos and bring them back the following class.
After you receive your printed photo, you will be asked to give an oral presentation in English and to write a short composition describing the meaning of your photo. Think of this as you telling a story or giving a description of what the photo means to you.
What happens next?
After you do your presentation and write about the meaning of your photo, you, along with the ESOL instructors and the Assumption teaching assistants will select a series of photos that will be exhibited at Assumption College.