Comic books have become an accepted form of art and literature. Teachers are becoming more open to using them to encourage reading among students. As a learning tool, the comic offers versatility but needs the right teaching strategies to be effective.
Using comic books to teach has many advantages for students, including the following:
- The visual representation makes vital information easy to remember
- Improve engagement in classes
- Help students develop higher-level thought processes
- Convey positive messages such as teamwork and perseverance
- Inspires creativity among individuals
- Puts across a lot of information within a short period
- Used to teach diverse school subjects
Teachers need to apply good tactics to achieve learning outcomes when comic books are used. Below are some of the ways educators can incorporate comics into their teaching.
Filling the Gaps Exercises
It is an exercise where you take out single or multiple words from a sentence and then ask your students to fill the blanks. The activity tests the vocabulary of the pupils and helps improve their speaking skills.
When learners undertake filling the gap exercises, they get challenged to use visual clues from the images to complete the test. Noteworthy, for the strategy to become effective, ensure that the blank filling exercise relates to your lesson’s overall theme.
Create Puzzles From Comics
Take a comic strip then carefully cut out the sections according to the frames. Divide your pupils into groups and give each team pieces of the cut-out comics. Ask them to arrange the strips to create a logical dialogue.
Creating puzzles is among the major ways of promoting critical thinking. Besides, the exercise will require your pupils to collaborate and thus encourages teamwork.
Ask Students to Form Their Own Dialogues for Comics
Comic strips consist of the visual and written text in the form of speech balloons. So, you can challenge your students to become more creative by having them develop their own dialogues. Take the comic and cut out all the speech sections. Then ask the pupils to come up with fitting dialogues for the pictures.
Can it help me write my essay? Yes, this activity will require a student to interpret the images to find the right context. The pupils will then use their creativity and vocabulary to develop the best dialogues, boosting their narrative essay writing skills.
The “Make Your Own Comics” Exercise
Teachers can challenge pupils to show their artistic sides by having them develop their own comics. A simple approach is to print out comic strip templates and give them to the students. From there, instruct them to create a visual representation of a theme you will choose. You can decide to provide them with phrases to use according to the topics you aim to focus on.
You can also ask your artistic pupils to visually narrate a story they’ve read in the form of a comic strip. It will boost their creative thinking. However, there’s always a chance that some students are not confident in their artistic abilities. Therefore, allow them to use simple visual elements such as stick figures.
Debates or Discussions
Comics is a fantastic tool that teachers can use for discussions. Since students are usually interested in comics, it is common for them to engage in minor debates about particular comical stories or characters. Through the discussions, they express their ideas, which bolsters their confidence and encourages them to speak their minds.
To encourage lively discussions, find a question that might welcome divided opinions. For example, in superhero comics, ask the pupils who would win if two of the major characters engaged in a duel. You can also ask them to identify any underlying themes in the comics based on their understanding of the materials.
Asking Students to Act Out Comics
After asking pupils to create comics or handing them already created comics, you can ask them to act out some scenes from the comical stories. Asking them to act out the scenes assists in improving their speaking skills and boosts their confidence. Noteworthy, the approach works best when using non-violent comics.
Using comics in class has many advantages. For instance, it boosts students’ attention and engagement in class. Also, it nurtures a more positive attitude towards reading. Furthermore, comics provide a medium that helps create awareness on sensitive topics such as bullying and racism.
However, educators should be careful not to overuse comics. Therefore, they should be used for special occasions and during sessions when there is adequate time.
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