lunes, 23 de julio de 2012

Comics in my class? You bet!

Last Friday 20, we attended the interesting workshop “Making the most of comics in the ELT class” by Peter David and organized by the Regional English Language Office of the United States Embassy in Lima. The talk by Mr David was followed by an interesting hands-on session led by David Fay, RELO Andes, and Patricio Rivas, a teacher at ICPNA Cuzco.
To be honest, I attended the event for quite selfish reasons: I am on vacation (which means I have the time), my son likes comics (especially “The Walking Dead,” of which he is such a great fan that he made me buy the Compendium, a one-thousand-page collection of the comic series, on Amazon), and a writer´s curiosity about the creative process involved in the writing of the plots of comics (most of you might know that I am a writer myself so this kind of input is attractive for me, specially if the presenter is such a personality).  Peter is not a teacher, he made it clear at the beginning of his talk, so he aimed at the creative side of the comics writing process: the script writing conventions and problems (he told us really funny anecdotes), the different types of speech balloons used in comics, etc. For me, the 90 minutes I spent listening to him were worth the time.
In the second part, David Fay gave us ideas on how to use comics in class: Ordering panels, filling in speech balloons with both pre-written dialogue and new dialogue, adding speech balloons. He used actual student-made comics from around the world. Patricio continued on this path and had us actually draw a comic starting from the simple and traditional short story theory that says a story starts with a problem and ends with the solution of the problem.
The  material given to us had really good pointers for those of us who want to experiment with comics. The theory behind using them, how the create our own comics (if we are not the artistic type) and ready-made comics we can use in class. Below, you will find a selection of some of the web sites you can explore further.
Finally, we were re-introduced to the new online English learning game Trace Effects –still a beta version but soon to be officially launched. Learn all about it at:
In short, the event was inspiring and gave us a new area to experiment with. If you do experiment with comics in your class, we would love to hear about it.

Making your cartoons:
Where to find comics.

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