Tuesday 17 July 2012

Great blog on comics in the classroom

Great post here on using comics and comic strips in the classroom.


There really is no need for us to separate off children's or our own capabilities into rigid compartments of 'literacy', 'art', 'dance', 'drama', 'music' etc. From as long as we know, humans have created forms which use a mix of expressive forms. Even my using that phrase, 'mix of expressive forms' , gives the compartments more credibility that they deserve! A picture book, for example, is a whole piece of communication asking of a reader/listener to simultaneously respond to many signals or 'signs'. When it comes to the feelings, ideas, sensations etc of the reader/listener it is impossible to separate out the impact and meaning of these signs. So, for example, people reared on Tenniel's Alice or Superman or Tintin or Babar cannot separate out what is image and what is story. That's not to say, we can't talk about these things! But we should never lose sight of the reader in these matters.

When it comes to children as practitioners, they are rarely bothered about barriers between the expressive forms. You're very unlikely to hear a child or school student interrupt a workshop by asking if it's appropriate to mix dance with pottery or music with poetry or any such. The arts talk to each other. The wonderful thing about comics and comic strips is that children from a very early age are surrounded by audio-visual-graphic-word expressive forms. A lot of this comes in the form of advertising, which, no matter what we think it is saying and why, offers us amazingly expressive and diverse ways of saying things.

Yesterday, when we were blogging (Haringey schools), schools were showing us, for example, poems being performed as videos going up on blogs with lettering as a kind of sub-titling running over the performance. Meanwhile a piece of paper and a pencil still offer a fantastically potent way of inventing ways of saying what we think and feel, inventing stories, poems and plays.

Thanks to Matthew Finch for the blog, thanks to Neill Cameron for the article.