Comics in the Classroom: A Universe of Opportunities

Concept by
Duilio Garofoli

Table of Contents

New Course

Description

Comics have been continuously downplayed within the educational domain for decades. Their common association with the industry of juvenile entertainment has created the idea that they are “a distraction for kids,” or – at best – an early primer for what really matters, i.e., book reading.

Yet, the development of comic narratives and the appearance of graphic novels have gradually clarified that such ideas are prejudices, mostly based on a shallow understanding of this media.

Comics, in fact, have something special. Not only have they proposed a unique combination of images and texts that makes them different from any other media format. They also require the unique capacity to use imagination to integrate words, pictures, and missing information – an ability known as closure.

Would you like to dive into comic literature to discover its extraordinary educational potential?

The course will help disclose the endless possibilities that comics and graphic novels can offer the educational domain.

Accordingly, the course will show participants how to use comics to enhance cognitive abilities and soft skills as well as convey content and motivate students in learning. Participants will first explore the foundations of comics, and address the reasons why to adopt them in the classroom.

Furthermore, participants will focus on the inner power of comics, and come to understand their deep meanings and value. Accordingly, the course will make them delve into the comic structure to learn how the reader processes it. This will allow discussion of how comics can enhance imagination, promote fluidity of thought, and foster critical thinking.

Additionally, the course will explore the potential of comics in teaching subjects more directly. On the one hand, participants will realize how they can enhance their debating, reading, and writing skills with comics. On the other, they will focus on how comics can support learning relevant curricular content throughout a wide variety of school subjects.

Finally, participants will explore basic strategies to create their own short comics, in order to communicate concepts, analyze problems, and reduce complexity. By doing this, they will learn the basic principles of visual thinking.

By the end of the course, participants will acquire flexibility in selecting and adopting the most appropriate comics within their working contexts. Thus, the course is particularly indicated for school teachers but also for educators and social workers working with teenagers and young adults.

Learning outcomes

The course will help the participants to:  

  • Understand the foundations of comics;
  • Enhance multimodal processing and critical thinking;
  • Boost creativity and visual imagination;
  • Foster writing, reading, and debating skills;
  • Increase students’ motivation;
  • Augment learning abilities through comics;
  • Simplify vehicle contents with sequential drawings;
  • Foster interconnection among students.

Tentative schedule

Day 1 – Introduction to the course

  • Introduction to the course, the school, and the external week activities;
  • Icebreaker activities;
  • Presentations of the participants’ schools;
  • What are comics?
  • Comics: Fear and Facts;
  • Why use comics in education? Why now?

Day 2 – Foundational skills in comics

  • Visual literacy;
  • The anatomy of comics;
  • Cognitive implications;
  • Closure.

Day 3 – Scaffolding curriculum-relevant abilities

  • Enhancing reading and writing abilities through comics;
  • Using comics for debate;
  • Thinking critically through comics.

Day 4 – Teaching content with comics

  • Comics as motivators;
  • Connecting comics to educational content;
  • Case studies.

Day 5 – Drawing comics

  • Let’s draw together;
  • Communication through comics;
  • Concept grounding and simplification;
  • Storyboarding.

Day 6 – Course closure and cultural activities

  • Course evaluation: round-up of acquired competencies, feedback, and discussion;
  • Awarding of the course Certificate of Attendance;
  • Excursion and other external cultural activities.

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