How to Use Comic Life in the Classroom
Thursday, March 8, 2007
There's a long history of comics in the classroom, and the list of references at the end of this article is a great starting point for learning about this concept. While there's still resistance to this medium being used in education - whether by staff or students - there is also a growing movement to use every valuable tool available. Comics have some great uses in the classroom and in a variety of curricula. From pre-readers to high school students, from English to ESL to Science and Math, comics can help students analyze, synthesize and absorb content that may be more difficult when presented in only one way.
Why Comics in the Classroom?
For the pre-reader, a comic can be purely graphical in nature and help provide practice with sequencing as well as concrete to abstract transitions using illustrations instead of written words. The written component of a comic can be introduced when the early readers are ready to connect words with images. Comics can help early readers or readers with language acquisition problems by providing visual clues to the context of the narrative.
For more advanced readers, comics can contain all the complexity of 'normal' written material which the student must decode and comprehend, such as puns, alliteration, metaphors, symbolism, point of view, context, inference, and narrative structures. A comic can also be a stepping-stone to more complex and traditional written work. A single pane in a comic can represent paragraphs worth of written material in a manner that is enjoyable and effective for the early or challenged reader.
Comics also have the ability to meet the needs of students in a variety of learning styles. Tom Hart illustrates how comics address many of Howard Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences in this short article. I strongly recommend that you read through the articles in the reference section below as many others have covered the concept of comics in education in far more detail than I do here.