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Using Comics and Graphic Novels as Teaching Learning Tools

Posted on Jun 23, 2014 by Ishanee Bhattacharyya | Category: Blog, Miscellaneous | Comments: none

Children have a natural affinity for anything graphic- visual illustrations, comics, cartoons, et al. Gone are the days, when we would reprimand kids for sneaking comic books instead of textbooks, or reading story books instead of completing their Math homework, or watching cartoons instead of drinking milk! Educators and parents have realized the immense potential graphic novels and comics have in developing essential skills- writing, reading, drawing, inking, and having computer coloring skills.

In my view, graphic novels and comics can completely replace those boring school textbooks with a wall of words, daunting and endless. They can take the role of literature in the classrooms. They have an added advantage as they divide up the text into manageable chunks, which are supported by images. These images help readers increase their vocabulary through the connection between words and images. Comics and graphic novels can be used as a “point of reference” to bridge what students already know with what they have yet to learn. For example, comics and graphic novels can teach about making inference, since there is a small amount of text associated with it. For students who lack the ability to visualize as they read, comics and graphic novels provide for it. Moreover, it provides an excellent way for reluctant writers to communicate a story that has a beginning, middle, and end. I think comics and graphic novels are an excellent vehicle for teaching writing, as a story has to be pared down to its most basic elements. It is easy for the students to look at a short comic strip and identify story elements.

Comics and graphic novels also encourage readers to explore different genres, and develop an appreciation for different literary and artistic styles, teach positive messages, such as helping others, working to one’s best ability, working as a team, and persevering. They also open a reader’s mind to new ways of storytelling, and increase their imagination, through the unique combination of text and pictures used in comics to convey the story. However, selecting the right comic is very crucial. It has to cater to all the learners and readers in the classroom. But the real daunting task, teacher might have to face, is getting students to actually enjoy reading comics. But given the fact that, children are usually drawn to graphics and cartoons, it would not be very difficult after all.

So go on, add some drama to your classroom! From Batman’s intensity, to Supandi’s absurdity, from Veronica’s charm to The Hulk’s anger, from Dennis’s menace to Chacha Chaudhury’s wisdom, let your classroom breathe some life and magic!

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About the Author

Ishanee Bhattacharyya
Ishanee Bhattacharyya
Associate – Research and Development "Education ought to develop all the faculties in a self" A masters in Sociology who handles the research portfolio, she imagines education as an all-encompassing egalitarian system, modeled on Tagore’s, Michael Apple’s and Friere’s ideologies. Her job yields new information each day – making it challenging and her reflective, objective and critical self takes the challenges head on. She enjoys a healthy debate and loves to read.

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