Dr. William Boerman-CornellAssociate Professor of Education, Trinity Christian College, Palos Heights, Illinoisbill.firstname.lastname@example.orgICCTE ConferenceAzusa Pacific UniversityThursday, May 24, 2012
Graphic Novels (GNs) are not exclusively graphic. (they combine images and words using the conventions of a comic book) GNs are not exclusively novels (the GNs in this study are all non- fiction)
Graphic novels integrate images and words even more closely than websites. Learning to read them may help students make meaning multi-modally. Graphic Novels seem to have potential for teaching in particular content areas Graphic novels, like picture books, may be helpful to teach struggling readers to picture what is described in the text – thus developing imagination. Imagination may be vitally important for developing faith.
Multimodal texts have great power to convey meaning. (Cazden et al. 1996; Lemke 2002; Iedema 2003; Hull & Nelson 2005; Brunye, Taylor and Rapp, 2007; etc.) A disciplinary approach for teaching reading can be effective. (Wineburg 1991; Stahl et al. 1996; Britt & Aghanskas 2002; Hynd-Shanahan et al. 2004; Shanahan & Shanahan 2008; etc.) GNs can be used to engage students in the classroom. (Moore 2003; Barnett 2004; Bitz 2004; Moffatt and Norton 2005; Ranker 2007; etc.)
Much of the research on multimodality to date hasreported enthusiasm about GN’s power to engagestudents – yet little is said about what happens oncethey are engaged.Researchers need to consider the next step. Whatcan various multimodal formats offer teachers tohelp them reach their curricular goals.To that end, this study is a textual analysis looking athow primary source GNs can contribute todisciplinary literacy in high school history instruction.
Different content area disciplines read differently (Shanahan and Shanahan 2008). Reading in History Contextualization Corroboration Sourcing (Wineburg 1991)
From a list of 22 GNs, I selected 5 primary-source based GNs. Quantitative textual analysis with multiple readings looking for contextualization, sourcing, and corroboration. Final close readings to consider aspects difficult to quantify.
Contextualization Geographic, Temporal, Social, Economic, Political Embedded maps, long shots, images, narration boxes, timelines, juxtaposition of events Sourcing Embedded documents, narration boxes, images, explanatory notes, Corroboration Parallel accounts , facial expressions showing support or non- support, collaborative report
Geographic context: Images once every 31pages. Narration boxes once every six pages.(During a campaign, place becomes blurred).Political context: Images showing politicalcontext on average once per page.Larger context: Critical questioning: narratedby two cynical reportersThe GN adjusts itscontextualization toevents it covers.
Embedded maps, long shots toconvey place.Sourcing anonymous witnesses.Multiple sources for corroboration.Questioning the veracity ofsources.
Nat Turner: Distinguishing thePrimary Source from the ContextThrough Images Contrasting the brutality of the rebellion with the brutality of slavery. Image narration for context, words taken straight from Diary of Nat Turner and other primary sources Visuals carry powerful emotional content – double edged sword
Cultural Contextualization in Journey IntoMohawk CountryOriginal text-only 1634 journal of a Dutch explorertrying to determine why the Mohawk prefertrading with the French.Original text is not very interesting, andVandenbogaert never finds an answer.Historians studying the text however havedetermined that the diary describes many actionsby the Dutch that the Mohawk would have foundculturally offensive.GN version uses images to show social gaffesIn a way that high school students couldrecognize.
Conclusions and implications1. The GNs in this analysis exhibited contextualization, sourcing, and corroboration in traditional, text-only ways, but also in new multimodal ways.2. GNs tailor contextualization to the needs of the particular historical events being narrated.3. GNs provide sourcing and corroboration even in situations where privacy issues make it difficult to use names or photos.4. GNs should not, in the context of the history discipline or in any other instructional context, be treated monolithically. Each GN has unique affordances and limitations.