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Using Portraiture Methodology to Tell Stories of Teachers’ Lived Experiences

Simona Semjonova
University of Latvia, Latvia

Abstract. Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot pioneered a new qualitative research design, portraiture, in the 1980s. The aim of this integrative review was to analyze the use of portraiture in studies about general secondary education teachers to determine researchers’ motivation for choosing portraiture over other similar qualitative research designs such as ethnography and phenomenology, and synthesize the findings to provide a research agenda about the use of portraiture methodology in studies about teachers.
Electronic databases Jstor, Taylor & Francis, and Springer were searched to identify studies about pre-service and in-service general secondary education teachers that used portraiture as the research design. Publications about early childhood education teachers and higher education teachers were excluded. Likewise, studies that portrayed students or schools were excluded. 10 publications were included in the review.
Within the publications, the most frequently reported reason for using portraiture methodology was that it allowed to portray the richness and complexity of teachers’ lived experiences in a language that could be understood by readers beyond the scientific community.
For now, portraiture is not as widely utilized as other qualitative research designs. It has potential to become more accepted in educational research, as it allows researchers to share the nuanced and complex stories of teachers’ strengths and lived experiences and, thus, drive social change.

Keywords: general secondary education, in-service teachers, integrative review, pre-service teachers, portraiture

Simona Semjonova is a doctoral student in the Faculty of Education, Psychology and Art of the University of Latvia.

In: Human, Technologies and Quality of Education, 2023. Proceedings of Scientific Papers = Cilvēks, tehnoloģijas un izglītības kvalitāte, 2023. Rakstu krājums
Riga, University of Latvia, 2023. 796 p. Ed. L. Daniela
ISBN 978-9934-36-116-6