Tom Spurgeon's Web site of comics news, reviews, interviews and commentary

October 12, 2004

Christian Science Monitor Stirs Up Comics in Classroom Issues

A lot of comics readers will doubtless find something to be offended by in this Christian Science Monitor article on comics in the classroom. It's difficult for many critics to press for educators to expose children to a wide variety of challenging prose material without casting comics into the role of dumbed-down option material. Complicating matters, some critics might genuinely feel that comics as a visual medium aren't as important to the development of young minds as the more abstract way of learning they believe is offered by prose. And in some cases, comic book Hamlet versus actual Hamlet, say, the comics stand a good chance of really being the lesser option.

Truth be told, the whole darn issue of comics in the classroom yields some pretty complex arguments, something that comes out of this brief, but well-reasoned and measured piece. A use of comics profiled here in laudatory fashion, the graphic novel Maus utilized in one troubled classroom in a way that sparks interest and future scholarship, places the comics medium into a "bridge" role from non-reading to reading, you know, real books -- comics as a slightly disreputable rebound date. The article also floats the notion that a passion for comics can keep someone functionally illiterate, and then turns right around and suggests this might not be a bad thing. Worth reading.
posted 9:43 am PST | Permalink

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