Lessons from a comic frame

Deepali Sagar Bajaj

Every teacher these days has to innovate if she has to keep her students engaged and interested. This is particularly true of subjects like social studies, which are seen as ‘boring’. How can we inject some life into a subject like social studies? Did you ever think of using comics?

Using comic strips in pedagogy
The idea of using comic strips as a teaching aid was first given by by Allan Paivio, an American professor of psychology, in 1986 when he proposed the Dual Coding Theory (Paivio, 1991). He stated that during the process of learning, a human being gives equal weightage to verbal and non-verbal processing. He maintained that a person’s recall and recognition increases many folds when the material is in both verbal and visual form. Mayer and Moreno (1998) complemented this finding by saying that when a teacher uses techniques like computers and cartoons in the classroom the learning is better and longer retained.

The benefits of using comic strips in the classroom
Combination of visual images and written material:
Teachers have been using PPTs regularly in their classes, therefore comic strips break the monotony. Instead of reading lengthy pieces of text, students can obtain the necessary information in a fun and interesting manner. The visual images are a treat for the students as they provide them with a cohesive and choreographed imagery that gives them the feeling that they are reading a piece of fiction rather than actual literature.

Cartoons are flexible:


The teacher can decide where she wants to use comic strips and how she can get the best results out of them. S/he can formulate scripts in which they can take up different fields and incorporate the decided topics in the same comic strip. This way, students can learn things simultaneously as well as learn the art of analyzing and synthesizing.

Integrates various domains: Every student has a different style of learning and understanding. Comic strips encompass both cognitive and psychomotor domains as they incorporate various intelligences like auditory, visual, and kinaesthetic (Mayer & Moreno, 1998).

Comic strips engender creativity: Students can be asked to create their own comic strips. This will help improve both their creative and research skills.

The author is Assistant Professor, Chitkara College of Education for Women, Punjab. She can be reached at deepali.sagar@gmail.com.

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