Teachers’ Visual Literacy Practices in Middle and High School Science Classrooms

Xiaoning Chen, National Louis University
Vito M. Dipinto Dr., National Louis University
Mark Newman, National Louis University


The study investigates how six in-service teachers with varying levels of teaching experience built upon what they learned in the teacher preparation programs and professional training to implement visual literacy practices in middle and high school science classrooms to facilitate science learning that met the needs of all students. The participating teachers were graduates from teacher preparation programs at one higher education institute. A case study method was used to document snapshots of visual literacy practices by the middle and high school science teachers.

Findings show that these teachers had students examine visuals in various ways to support understanding of the science content. In addition, a few visual literacy practices provided opportunities for students to analyze visuals, apply to scientific content being studied, and create visual narratives. Although there was no shared definition among the participants, the visual literacy practices used by the participating teachers were shaped by the curricula in their teacher preparation programs and the school context. Implications regarding how to revise the teacher preparation program curricula to teach visual literacy more explicitly and systematically are discussed below.