"I know many teachers use graphic novels and comics in the classroom. There are amazing books on the subject that include useful tools on how to effectively implement these resources for learning. The main thing teachers need to consider is purpose. I know, we love books and tools, but just like with technology, sometimes we get wrapped up in the tool instead of first thinking about the purpose. Here are some specific strategies to ponder as you select a graphic novel or comic to read, or as you consider how students might create their own. Thinking about them will help you focus your purpose in your instruction. All of them are useful, as long as the purpose is clear to the teacher and the learner."
"Many teachers are very hesitant to use graphic novels in their classroom. Much of the hesitation has to do with a personal lack of familiarity with this specific form of literature. For some, the use of graphic novels in the classroom is foreign and scary, some might not even see it as “literature,” while others are actually beginning to see the great advantage of using them to supplement student learning."
Krazy Kat was a remarkable and hugely influential comic daily comic. Found in newspapers around the country for over 30 years, from 1913 and 1944, it would influence comics greats such as Charles M. Schulz, Will Eisner, ...
If you have ever taken an English course, it’s likely that at one point your professor asked the question: What is literature?
Thought provoking, though this article raises questions that have bothered me for some time when thinking about how literature is taught.
I'm not certain that I disagree with the basic premise of this opinion piece, though I suppose that if the article were the counterargument professing that text-based literature lacks qualities of graphic novels, an equally thought provoking argument could be made.
My concern is not the truthfulness of the article, but rather the side-affects of such articles in classrooms where the audience for literature study may include the illiterate, the reluctant, the casual, the enthusiastic, and the future English majors. Arguments such as this are of potential interest to the last group, I suppose.
However, the article's point of view may be one more reason why we are less successful marketing an interest or potential love of reading among the other groups. Literary snobbery, based upon well-founded arguments or not, is off putting; appearing as annoying as being forced to be a spectator at a pissing contest. It is not unlikely that the majority of the class' reaction might just be "Who cares?"
And, even more damaging might be the implication that the reader of graphic novels, like the readers of YA, SciFi and other genres also considered to be of "lesser literary" quality; and those who are reluctant may feel so criticized that they find themselves marinating in perceived criticism that they somehow ought to be ashamed of themselves and are thereby "unworthy" of respect.
It is that sort of perceived criticism that sooner or later may well be the straw that broke the proverbial camel's back. "To hell with it, why bother?" Thus, an opportunity to capitalize upon an existing engagement with graphic novels and to attempt to expand that existing engagement into a possible engagement with reading considered to be of "higher literary quality" is lost, and thereby a potential life-long reader may just lose the last bit of potential for growth as a reader.
So, though I'm not a big fan of graphic novels (only because there is so much more to read than there is time to read and therefore I have too small of a database to condone or condemn with any authority), but, I've read a few; among them I'd point to Maus and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen as being as valuable as a literary experience for some readers as Buddenbrook may be to some literary scholars. And, Buddenbrook may be actually nothing more than mind-numbingly boring to students who are not yet ready for, or for students who have teachers less able to engage students in the challenges of such literary masterpieces.
One real criticism I have about the premise of the this article is the assumption that if a work does not meet a literal understanding of the Oxford English Dictionary, then it can not be literature. And, yet the article's author takes the definition so literally that he does not address the fact that according to his interpretation, pornography, propaganda, and much published material that is racist, sexist, xenophobic, uninformed, misinformed, ill-informed, and published specifically to disinform is literature while Maus is not.
Thus, in the end, though there is certainly an argument to be made regarding the literary merit of the "mostly text" versus the "mostly not text" storytelling genres, the narrowness of the argument made here is disconcerting to those of us charged not with the duty of precision nit-picking, but rather with the charge of stemming the tide of waning interest in reading.
At one time speech meant that which is "said orally." But, who would think that freedom of speech would be limited to that which is said orally and heard aurally? Who would say that speech heard and then printed and taken in via visual means is not literature?
I think a more interesting argument would be whether or not text heavy literature is enough to distinguish "great literature" from crap and whether or not text light storytelling is enough to exclude graphic novels are qualifying for good, if not great literature status.
"Weaver has had success using elements of Ulysses in conjunction with Ulysses "SEEN"—the strategy Berry and his colleagues intended the comic to be used for—and has converted some of his students to Joyce fans in the process, which is no small feat for such a difficult text as Ulysses."
This online graphic novel is now available for the ipad $7.49.
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