How to Implement the Analyzing Images Teaching Strategy in Your Classroom


Use this method to guide learners through a close analysis of an image. By following the steps in this image-analysis implementation, learners develop critical thinking skills, enhance their interpretive skills, and develop conceptual learning strategies. You can utilize this method with any visual media, including a piece of art, photograph, political cartoon, propaganda poster, or video clip.


  1. Select an Image: Select an image that lends itself to an in-depth analysis by learners. This analytical method works best when the image is one that reflects a particular opinion, point of view, or perspective. Visual art, propaganda images, photographs, and political cartoons are good examples of visual media that reflect a particular viewpoint.
  2. Lead Learners through Analysis: Share the image with learners by providing copies or by projecting or displaying it in the classroom. Lead learners slowly through the following six steps, pausing between each step to give them significant time for thinking and writing.

    Step One: Ask learners to observe the photo intently. Have them find shapes, colors, textures, the position of people or objects, etc.

    Step Two: Have learners write down what they see without making any interpretation about what the picture is trying to say.

    Step Three: Ask learners what questions they have about the picture that must be answered before they can begin to interpret it.

    Step Four: Have learners discuss their questions with two other learners to try to find some answers.

    Step Five: Given the context and subject of the piece, ask learners what they think the artist is trying to say, and who they believe is the intended audience.

    Step Six: Talk through your interpretation with the class and be ready to support your view by alluding to specific elements of the image and what you know about it.
  3. Discuss the Process: Take a few moments to discuss with learners their reflections on the experience of analyzing different types of visual media. By practicing and explaining this process, learners will begin to respond more thoughtfully and critically to the images they encounter every day.
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