Using Comic Books to Teach

I really enjoyed looking back at this interview with Chris Wilson over at Open Education about the use of comic books to teach.

To me, the important point to remember that just about anything can be used to teach, however, when you use something that kids like, you have an edge and it is magnetic. (Cool tools, technology, excited teachers)

We should not be opposed to the use of just about any tool… we should be opposed to bad teaching. Teachers who don't want to be there, don't have their heart in it, and don't take the time to plan and make their classrooms a center for learning excellence.

The most important quotation to pass along (please read the whole article) is:

This is a much larger subject than one may realize. For my part, when I use the term “comic,” I am referring to the generalized genre of comic literature. That is literature that uses both text and art in a sequential manner. For more on this, I suggest you read

by Scott McCloud. It is required reading for anyone who cares at all about comics, especially teachers who want to use comics. It will help people understand the history of comics and why it is indeed an art. To understand what happens between the panels of a comic page is to understand why comics is indeed literature.”

I love using comics and adore toondoo.

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6 thoughts on “Using Comic Books to Teach

  1. Let me tell you an enormously overlooked comic genre teaching tool: Asterix the Gaul. Think of all the following options:

    * Learning about puns from the dialogue
    * Exploring the wit in the use of the names
    * Exploring tools for humour
    * Exploring story-line construction
    * Translating the Latin (one pirate only speaks Latin)
    * Researching to see whether the history is accurate and where the story line diverges from reality (my husband only half-jokingly calls Asterix “the definitive history of all peoples”)
    * Art techniques used

    And I drew up that list without even stopping to ponder – imagine what else could be achieved if a person put their minds to it!

  2. I love this idea! I used to try and clip comics that went along with what we were working on, but it ended up being a hassle. I hadn’t really thought about how easy it would be to find, make, and/or save them for use now that we’re in the digital age! I’ve also thought that using jokes/joke books would be a useful tool. The brevity of comics and jokes forces them to leave a lot of assumed information out. This makes them a very natural check for understanding. If kids don’t get the basics, they won’t get the comic/joke.

  3. Thanks for the link to toondoo. I love using comics in my special ed classroom especially to teach classics. The students can learn and enjoy the visuals.

  4. I completely agree with your ideas about using anything that interest students as a learning tool. If students are interested in reading comic books, than why not use them as a teaching tool? Comic books are a genre that can expose students to a lot of exciting elements. As an educator, I also agree with the statement about using other tools “that kids like” while teaching. I think that teachers should continually try and find new materials that spark students’ interests. This is important to keep them engaged in their learning. Students will learn and remember more when lessons appeal to their interests. I am currently taking a technology class to learn new and exciting ways to tie technology into the classroom. I am hoping this new knowledge will excite my young learners.

  5. I completely agree with your ideas about using anything that interest students as a learning tool. If students are interested in reading comic books, than why not use them as a teaching tool? Comic books are a genre that can expose students to a lot of exciting elements. As an educator, I also agree with the statement about using other tools “that kids like” while teaching. I think that teachers should continually try and find new materials that spark students’ interests. This is important to keep them engaged in their learning. Students will learn and remember more when lessons appeal to their interests. I am currently taking a technology class to learn new and exciting ways to tie technology into the classroom. I am hoping this new knowledge will excite my young learners.

  6. I couldn’t agree more about the value of comics in education. I’m a big fan of comics and use them in my class every chance I get. I’ve found some great ebooks at http://www.dedicatedteacher.com that have helped me creatively integrate comics into my lessons, not only as products in themselves, but as teaching tools.

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