Reflexive photography in the field: assessing the acquisition of knowledge and soft skills in an intercultural experience

Authors: Philipp Namberger*, University of Munich
Topics: Geography Education, Higher Education, Qualitative Research
Keywords: intercultural experience, reflexive photography, field trips, human geography, knowledge, soft skills
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/11/2018
Start / End Time: 10:00 AM / 11:40 AM
Room: Endymion, Sheraton, 8th Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Travel is well known to broaden the mind. Against this background, the study’s purpose is to expose the actual scope and nature of the knowledge and soft skills that students have acquired during a two-week field trip to Toronto, Niagara Falls, Detroit, and Chicago in September 2017. The field trip with special interest in human geography is part of the Geography program at the University of Munich and mainly requires student presentations and visits with experts from academia and practice. In this context, the learning processes of 15 students are analyzed through the method of reflexive photography. Every student has to take two to three pictures a day which capture things and situations that are new to them, that they have not expected, not known or been aware of. The pictures help them to identify, describe, analyze, and finally evaluate the acquired competencies. Thus, a broad range of different knowledge and skill sets can be identified, including geography-related expertise but also soft skills such as social, intercultural, and language skills. It can be shown that these skills are developed through specific situations during the field trip and that the students bring different knowledge sets and preferences to the field experience that influence their perception of the intercultural experience. The results provide valuable insights into what exactly the students learned from their intercultural experience and how they value this.

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