Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Middle and Secondary Education

First Advisor

Chara Bohan

Second Advisor

Joseph Feinberg

Third Advisor

Peggy Albers

Fourth Advisor

John K. Lee

Fifth Advisor

Beverly Armento


Teachers in the 21st century are confronted with students who are mass consumers of visual texts via social apps on smart devices, media on television, and information in textbooks. Teaching students to analyze and question visual texts may help them construct meaning and critique what they see. Yet, very little is known about teachers’ pedagogical decisions when planning and teaching with visual texts. This study attempted to fill that gap. The purpose of this study was to explore how eighth grade history teachers utilize historical visual texts in their classrooms. Three eighth grade history teachers participated in this study.

Data collection consisted of semi-structured interviews, teacher analyses of visual texts, video recorded lessons, and teacher reflections. Data obtained in this study addressed the following questions: How do teachers analyze a historical visual text for use in the classroom? What previous experiences do teachers utilize when planning to teach with a historical visual text? What do teachers’ reflections of a video recorded lesson reveal about the teachers’ instructional experiences with historical visual texts? What do video analyses of teachers utilizing historical visual texts reveal about teachers’ historical thinking and visual literacy pedagogical decisions?

The results of this study indicated that the participants lack formal pedagogical content knowledge and prior experiences in teaching with historical visual texts. Yet, the participants reported that their lessons in this study were engaging and meaningful for students. Findings from this study suggest that historical visual texts can be effective in the teaching and learning of history.