Why using cartoonsIn a single image, a cartoon can make ussmile, make us laugh, or even make us sigh andshake our heads.Appeal to the Child in Us. For most of us, childrenand adults alike, cartoons are appealing. We feelwe are entering a dream, a fantasy world, and thatwe are escaping from everyday reality.
POSITIVE FEATURESCartoons are colorful and amusing. Therefore, if weteachers want to use a cartoon or part of one as astimulus for some language activity in theclassroom, we already have the students willingattention.Even with students whose native language isEnglish, using animated versions of well-knownstories can give the more unwilling students theirfirst exposure to literary classics and perhaps evenstimulate them to pick up the book.
Negative Features of CartoonsNo Clues from Visual Articulation. One way inwhich video helps in comprehension is that it oftenlets us see the speakers mouth, from which we getclues as to what sounds or sequences of sounds thespeaker is producing.The characters mouths are made to move inimitation of real people, but the subtle movements oflips, tongue, and jaw that help us identify speechsounds even when we cannot hear them arecompletely missing.
Good teachers always spend sometime introducing the topic of thelesson. Often our pre-teachingactivities bear a relationship to ourpurpose for using the materials. Forexample, when we use a cartoon aspart of a unit on a particulartopic, such as the Halloweenholiday, the cartoon may be only oneof a series of materials illustratingvarious aspects of that topic.
ActivitiesReading a Transcript. If there is a story worthunderstanding, Particularly for longer cartoons, wemay want to prepare a complete transcript for one ormore scenes and have students take the rolesbefore viewing.
ActivitiesCloze. Because the language ofcartoons is ratherunnatural, students need someextra help in comprehending it.
Reading a Transcript. If there is a storyworth understanding, Particularly for longercartoons, we may want to prepare acomplete transcript for one or more scenesand have students take the roles beforeviewing.
Performing a Mini-Play. Ifstudents have a completetranscript of a story, a cartoon orthat of another genre such as asituation comedy, they can act itout in mini-play style.