Our eyes, the window to our soul: understanding the impact of images on social studies curricula and lived experience
On a daily basis I am bombarded with images in every walk of life. I encounter images crossing my path constantly through media such as the internet, television, magazines, radio, social media, even in the grocery store line on screens intended to capture our attention. As I drive down the roadways, I am invaded by images that at times can be distracting with their dazzling displays, attempting to get our attention and get us to consume their product or service or understand a historical meaning. In this dissertation I intend on looking at murals and two social studies textbooks to focus types of media; then construct an argument about how these media impact social studies curricula in the communities in which they are located taking into consideration race, social class, language, location, and culture. The intent is to critically analyze traditional curricula and curricula found in public pedagogy in communities located on the borderlands. I also asked local high school-aged students, teachers, artists, and activists from both sides of the border analyze the images through photo elicitation and traditional interviews. Students were interviewed with a focus on interpreted meanings of images presented. Teachers and artists were interviewed to discover their intended meanings as displayed through their production and circulation of intended meanings via lessons and the images they select or create. Activists were interviewed to discover local history, images, and history of the educational space where the artwork and schools are located. I used these data to create an argument as to how these forms of media impacts school curricula in the areas on both sides of the United States/Mexico border. The study was conducted in border cities El Paso, Texas and Juarez, Chihuahua. The ultimate goal was to look at how academics and curricula developers can use this information to decolonize curricula in the field of curricula studies. Moreover, this information can be used to create decolonized ideologies in curricula that can be used at the school sites to promote diversity and social justice for students in their schooling experience.