Everybody enjoys good comics once in a while. Regardless of your age, education, interests, and goals, there is always a story that can catch your attention and get you carried away into its graphic world. There are tons of exercises comics can be used for, and more and more teachers recognize their great educational value.
Due to its light and easy narrative and appealing graphics, comics have a fantastic power to reach and amuse people of all ages. That might be the reason why teachers of an elementaryschool to college introduce them for educational purposes in their classrooms. Thus, comics can be an innovative replacement for old-fashioned teaching methods or an effective supplement for already existing tools and techniques. Whatever it is, students will definitely appreciate such a novelty.
Truth be told, comic books can solve numerous problems many students face, like bad or reluctant reading, low writing skills, boredom in the lessons, inattentiveness, and inability to focus, whatnot. Modern society is more attracted to visual content rather than reading plain text. Therefore, as comics include both text and images, students feel easier to focus, analyze, and memorize the information they get.
No doubt that in addition to their entertaining value, comic books can be a useful educational asset. Let’s look closer at how and for what learning purposes they can be implemented.
Facilitate Learning a Foreign Language
When it comes to learning a foreign language, comics are second to none as an educative tool. There is a vast array of comic books that belong to different genres and are intended for different language levels. Therefore, whether you are a complete beginner or a quite advanced speaker, language learners can always find something to their liking.
There is hardly anything else that can keep a reader as much engaged and focused as graphic novels. The pictures are always appealing and eye-catching, while the plot is fun and dynamic. Even if the comic book is intended for a higher language level, reading it can always turn into a fun game of guessing the word. Images prove really helpful in recognizing the meaning from the context, so students won’t have to wear out their dictionariesevery time they get stuck with the translation.
Reading books in the original is a great exercise for boosting vocabulary and learning some cultural peculiarities. Sadly, sometimes the process becomes tedious and dull due to a plethora of bookish and often obsolete words. Comics, on the other hand, use relevant modern language with slang words, idioms, popular sayings, whatever. However, absorbed by the visual content, students can learn new native-speaker words and catchphrases without even realizing it – in a fun and natural way.
And last but not least, comics are short. The information is always limited by speech bubbles, while the book itself can be finished within several minutes. It helps to enjoy the feeling of accomplishment, stay positive, and motivated. When the story can be finished in no time, and your list of unknown words doesn’t burst at the seams, students don’t feel overwhelmed but are more eager to continue learning.
Help Students with Special Needs
There are plenty of students who have autistic spectrum, ADHS, or dyslexia, and they need a little bit different approach in learning. Reading a traditional book with lots of text and information, they may often lose interest or even jump into self-doubt when it gets too hard, which may happen quite often.Short graphic stories, however, give such students the feeling of small success every time they reach the end of the story, which is vital for building confidence and improving self-esteem.
Boost Creativity and Improve Understanding
Making your own comic story can be a fun and effective exercise to enhance students’ creativity and understanding. Thus, a teacher may encourage students to create a comic story of their favorite book (or a part thereof), or on the contrary, suggest an alternative plot for the novel they didn’t like. Such exercise can be assisted by brainstorming, live discussion in the classroom, teamwork, or competitions, which are great for teaching problem-solving, cooperation, respect, and logicalargumentation.
On the other hand, a teacher may offer students a ready-made comic book without the text. This way, readers can transform into creators and write their own stories. Writing is time-consuming and often requires a lot of effort. Therefore, many students often neglect writing assignments choosing to hand them on to their fellow students, or professional writing services.
“I was supposed to write my book review, but I was terrible at writing. However, I used to draw really well. So, I made comics where I was telling my English teacher about the book. The comics story was quite nice but I got F because my teacher wanted an essay, not some “useless pictures with bubbles.”
Unfortunately, Justin’s teacher didn’t know back then that comics can be a powerful method to engage students in writing. Even if you are a real wordsmith, creating a comics story can be an entertaining and challenging way to try your skills for something new – perhaps, even make a difference for someone who will be reading it.
Equally, graphic novels can be used for teaching any other subject in a fun and enjoyable way. They improve students’ attention, concentration, and memory retention, and, therefore, help students to do better both in the class and during exams.