Means to a Meaning: Using Photo Elicitation to Teach a Course about Workplace Spirituality

By David Trott.

Published by The International Journal of Pedagogy and Curriculum

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Article: Electronic $US5.00

This paper discusses how photo-elicitation was used as a means to enhance individual as well as collective meaning-making in a course about spirituality and work. A detailed explanation will clarify how to use black-and-white photography for a more “sensually complete” teaching repertoire and means for students to express their experiences related to workplace spirituality, spiritual wellness, spiritual distress, and related concepts. Imagetexts, photovoice, and photo-elicitation are particularly helpful in management education especially given the limitations of language when grappling with how to articulate aesthetics, emotions and in this case the spiritual dimension of life at work. An approach that engages students in dialogue via photographs fosters greater understanding of content as well as prompts ongoing critical reflection. Photoelicitation uses multivocality to raise individual/collective student consciousness onto a plane of reflexivity. Transferability of this photo-elicitation activity to other management education courses for enhanced teaching/learning is highly possible.

Keywords: Spirituality, Photography, Photoelicitation, Photovoice, Imagetext, Dialogue, Management Education

International Journal of Pedagogy and Curriculum, Volume 19, Issue 1, pp.71-84. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 461.370KB).

Dr. David Trott

Chair of International Business Administration Department, International College, I-Shou University, Dashu District, Taiwan

David C. Trott, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor and Head of the International Business Administration Department in the International College at I-Shou University in Taiwan. His dissertation “Spiritual Well-Being of Workers” (1996) was perhaps the first empirical research study to examine the influences of spiritual wellness in everyday workplace activities. He has continued his research in this area over the past 14 years and is currently analyzing data from nearly 350 in-depth qualitative interviews of workers from dozens of diverse organizations. David is passionately devoted to the scholarship of teaching and learning and has taught working-adult students, traditional under-graduate, and graduate-level students. Twice he has received a finalist award for “Teaching Excellence.” Students note his innovative approach to teaching as amongst their most memorable academic experiences.