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Manga and Comics for ELLs

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My colleague Debra Viadero writes in "Scholars See Comics as No Laughing Matter" in this week's Education Week that scholars are viewing comics as a promising subject for educational research. She reports that about 125 teachers, scholars, and artists attended the first academic conference on "Graphica in Education" about how comics can be used in the classroom.

Since using visuals is one recommended strategy for language teachers, it's no surprise that over at EFL Classroom 2.0, David Deubelbeiss has written about how manga and comics are great tools for educators of English-language learners. He includes a folder of comics materials that teachers have shared with each other.

I wasn't a big comics fan as a child. But as an adult I have read Persepolis and Persepolis 2. They're graphic stories by Marjane Satrapi about her life during and after the Iranian Islamic revolution. Those comic and irreverent (but also sad) stories left a much stronger impression on me than if I'd read an academic book on the subject. They've been made into a movie, but I haven't seen it, as I wanted the powerful medium of the graphic story to stay with me.

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You mention not wanting to dilute the impact of Persepolis by watching the movie. But as someone who has seen the movie but not read the graphic novels, I just want to attest to the power of the film. I assume the film borrows heavily from the books. And it, too, is evocative and powerful.

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