Doctoral Dissertations

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



Major Professor

Richard Allington

Committee Members

Anne McGill-Franzen, Stergios Botzakis, Jennifer Jordan, Sky Huck


The ability to reflect has been identified as a crucial element of teacher expertise. In the past, teacher education programs have encouraged pre-service teachers to become reflective practitioners by keeping journals, creating portfolios, and/or engaging in conversation. However, these methods do not allow individuals to utilize parts of the brain that process visual information. This qualitative study investigated the reflective practice of fourteen pre-service teachers who utilized visual information through photos on Instagram. The purpose of this naturalistic qualitative study was to describe and better understand the development and reflective practice of beginning teachers through observation, interview, and documents. Specifically, this study focused on how preservice teachers reflected, the content of their reflections, and how Instagram influenced the reflection process. Participants collected daily photos throughout a yearlong internship and posted them on Instagram. Throughout the year, participants were observed and interviewed about this reflective process. Through thematic analysis, several themes were identified across the data. The teachers reflected using five reflective techniques, photojournaling, noticing, noticing and extending, noticing and problem solving, and noticing and changing. The content of their photoreflections focused on themselves as teachers, their pupils, and the system of education. Instagram seemed to positively influence the reflective process because the pre-service teachers enjoyed the process, were influenced by the visual aspect of photographs, and noticed a lot of their surroundings that later became catalysts for further reflection.

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