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REFLEXIVE PHOTOGRAPHY AS A TOOL FOR EXPLORING STUDENTS´ PERCEPTIONS ABOUT THE VALUE OF A TOURISM DESTINATION

A.I. Rodrigues1, M. Gallarza 2

1Polytechnic Institute of Beja (PORTUGAL)
2University of Valencia (SPAIN)
Background and justification:
Teaching tourism is a rather innovative field, because of the speed of evolution of the industry and the way consumers' habits change. Tourism is also a nice area for experimenting creativity from students where reflexivity (as an approach in qualitative research) highlights the connection between the researcher (the student in this case) and the research contex (Wickens et al. 2017). Tourism students are often ever-changing and varied (Weber, et al. 2014). coming from different disciplines such as geography, management, translation and often mixed in intercultural groups. It is an audience keen to participate in more innovative learning methods, such as the one we propose here.
This work aims at presenting a versatile tool for applying inductive methods in class: Reflexive Photography, based on a visual methods approach (Rodrigues, 2016). Moreover, tourism student’s experimentation can be a good tool for conceptual understanding of some topics, such as Perceived Value, that can be difficult to apprehend initially (Gallarza, Gil-Saura and Holbrook, 2011). With this purpose, this work reports an in-class exercise in the subject “Consumer Behavior in tourism” in Tourism Master program at Universidad de Valencia (Spain).

Scope and method of the In-Class exercise:
The general intention with this work is to demonstrate the benefits of working with the visual, based on a set of methodologies and procedures used in classes, particularly Reflexive Photography. Specifically, the goal of this study is to examine and determine to the degree, as far as possible from a critical and constructive perspective, to which the students formulate their opinions regarding Consumer Value. The participants were asked to record their thoughts while taking the pictures and Explore impressions, perceptions and opinions from students about Valencia as a destination, based on the “tourist perspective”;
In sum, employing visual-based methods within the classroom has the potential to make the classroom less secret and boring, potentially facilitating understanding of the topics, concepts and phenomena under study and the education process itself. In an educational context, visual-based methods such as Reflexive Photography encourage students to strengthen the use of critical thinking, cognitive flexibility, reflexivity and awareness about strengths and weaknesses (i.e. value based approach as a trade off) of a tourist experience in the city of Valencia.

References:
[1] Gallarza, M.G.; Gil, I. & Holbrook, M. B. (2011). The value of value: Further excursions on the meaning and role of customer value. Journal of Consumer Behaviour, 10 (4), 179-191.
[2] Rodrigues, A. (2016). The Camera as an Educational Tool: Reflective Photography for Examining Impressions and Perceptions about a Destination, Proceedings from the 1st International Symposium on Qualitative Research, 12-14 July 2016, Universidade Lusófona, Porto. Available at http://proceedings.ciaiq.org/index.php/ciaiq2016/issue/view/16. ISBN: 978-972-8914-62-2.
[3] Weber, M.R, J.H. (J). Dennison, D. (2014). Using Personality Profiles to Help Educators. Understand Ever-Changing Hospitality Students. Journal of Teaching in Travel & Tourism, 15(4), pp. 325-344
[4] Wickens, C. M.; Cohen, J. A. & Walther, C. S. (2017). Reflexivity in the interstices: a tale of reflexivity at work in, during, and behind the scenes. International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, 30 (9), pp. 863-876.