The OF Blog: A graphic aside

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

A graphic aside

I'm not a very visual learner; aural learning has worked for me. However, the more and more I teach social studies (and English on occasion), the more I've come to realize that the majority of my students are either visual or tactile learners; something not conducive for traditional lecture methods, regardless of how talented I or others might be at oratory.

Over the past year, I have begun receiving a series of graphic novel adaptations of historical events ranging from a biography of J. Edgar Hoover (Rick Geary) to a history of Students for a Democratic Society (Harvey Pekar), with books such as Howard Zinn's A People's History of American Empire and Sid Jacobson and Ernie Colòn's After 9/11: The War on Terror (2001 - ) also being received in recent months. While there are a few quibbles I have about the "balance" in some of the sections (while largely agreeing with their sentiments), one thing that struck me about these books (similar to my reactions when I read Art Spiegelman's Maus last year) is just how effective these histories would be with many of my students, with the images standing in place of paragraphs of explanations. Pictures indeed might be worth more than a thousand words.

Any of you read any of these books or other graphic novel adaptations of historical events? I'm likely going to be buying a few more graphic novel adaptations in the coming weeks, particularly if others reading this are aware of some of the more "classic" graphic novel histories that might interest me, especially in regards to late 19th to present-day U.S. History.


Dark Wolf said...

Well, I think that those graphic novels can help you a lot with students. I, in particular, was learning using images (maps, drawings and othe stuff like this). I tend to remember were one thing or another is positioned on page. But I believe that those students that don't catch things visual will enjoy images more that text :)

Jen said...

I was just talking about the topic with someone... I am a visual persoan and they were "explaining" that "people" memorize better if they *hear* something.

I don't know what kind of things you're talking about, but I'm sure visual aids would help those people who don't rely on hearing (or memorizing) so much. Not to replace those means, but to provide something extra.

John - Grasping for the Wind said...

ou should also look into similar adaptations of plays. Classical Comics in Britain did it with some of Shakespeare and it truned out well. I generally don't like literary adaptations like that for novels, etc. but a play, which is designed to be seen works well in graphic novel format.

tim said...

There is an incredible 4 part series (it might be collected by now, but I am not sure) about Nat Turner's slave revolt in South Hampton. It has no words, only images, and could serve as a supplement... I wish I could remember the creator's named, but my copies are buried somewhere at the moment,

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