I have always loved comic books and graphic novels. Storytelling through visuals has always made sense to me and comics provide the detailed imagery of film with the longer, reader-paced stories of literature. I discovered them all on my own way, way back in middle school and reading them became a personal pastime. Then, in high school, something surprising happened: my English class had a lesson on the comic book. We were to read and analyze Maus by Art Spiegelman (a biographical story of the holocaust). I had thought that I was well-versed in graphic novels but this was something different—this was academic.
Humans are primarily visual so I was not surprised when I came across a HULT article that suggests comics might facilitate learning. So much so that they are starting to enter the educational field at an increased rate. It all has to do with the “pictorial superiority effect,” where a picture accompanying a concept (rather than plain text) will skyrocket the mental retention rate of the concept. Beyond literary criticism, some teachers are using these kind of images to present information from other fields, such as anthropology.
In my educational life thus far, the one lesson in that one class in high school is my only experience with comics in the classroom but it was an enlightening one. For the love of the medium and for the interest in what it has to say, it’s hopeful to see them becoming serious academic tools and pursuits.
Comment below and let me know if you’ve had any experience with comics in education.
Nathan Repp is a writer for Scholar Hero. The views and opinions expressed of this particular blog belong solely to those of the author and not of Scholar Hero, Inc.