Stories are told with comic books by images repeating from frame to frame. This study explores one teacher's experience as she teaches, reflects and discovers a workable grammar of comics for young children aged seven and eight. Four children who completed comics are studied. Included narratives describe each child's different approach to making comics and the experience of the teacher.
Currently comic books are enjoying a resurgence of popular interest as well as being endorsed as an appropriate reading material for children. It has also been proposed that if students create comic books, traditional language arts and literacy skills are strengthened. This study used materials and lessons from The Comic Book Project. Participants in this project are most commonly in grades four through twelve. Substantial modifications were made to use these materials and lessons with younger children.
Scott McCloud's Understanding Comics, Will Eisner's Comics and Sequential Art and Philippe Marion's Trace en Cases were the entry points into an exploration of the content knowledge of comics. Research on children's drawing and artistic development, as well as research on the stories young children tell; provided the basis exploring an appropriate pedagogy. Data were collected in the form of children's drawings, sketchbooks, and comics and a transcription was made from an audio recording of the oral instruction to the class. The transcripts were analyzed using narrative analysis informed by reflective practice, phenomenology and Structuralist analysis.
A grammar of comics is proposed as part of a Pedagogical Content Domain of comics. This epistemology and techné of a discipline is an outgrowth of Pedagogical Content Knowledge (PDK), proposed by Shulman. PDK is both the teacher's content knowledge of a subject as well as her pedagogical knowledge. Pedagogical knowledge includes understanding of children's development and how students conceptualize subject knowledge. Conclusions suggest that this grammar of comics is also a tool for reading and evaluating not only students' comics but commercial products aimed at children. Furthermore, the enhancement of traditional literacy skills through the use of story telling arts such as drama, book making and authoring comic books is perhaps just a byproduct creating that art; art which by nature of the medium tells a story.
|Subjects||Art education; Pedagogy|
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