“I’d Say I Have a Bit of Work to Do”: Exploring Elementary Social Studies Pre-Service Teacher Criticality through PhotoVoice


  • Christine Rogers Stanton
  • Hailey Hancock


pre-service teachers, self-authorship, teacher identity


Elementary pre-service teacher education offers important insights in terms of how teachers understand and develop criticality surrounding self-reflexivity, interaction with social studies content, and pedagogy. This study applied critical self-authorship frameworks, Freire's theory of conscientisation, and PhotoVoice methodology to explore pre-service teachers' self-awareness of their developing professional identities as situated within an elementary social studies methods course. Broadly, the study explored the question, "How does critical examination of our identities shape our understandings of elementary social studies education?" Results demonstrate an emerging awareness of the influence of personal history and experience, place, and multiple perspectives on learning and teaching social studies, but a need for more comprehensive and sustained attention to criticality throughout entire teacher preparation programs is needed to achieve self-transformation and antiracist/anticolonial pedagogy. These results offer theoretical and practical guidance for thinking about critical social studies elementary teaching and teacher education.