FACULDADE INTERNACIONAL SIGNORELLI ELIZIANE DE SOUSA SAMPAIO MENDESTHE CONTRIBUTION OF GENDER COMICS IN TEACHING ENGLISH Fortaleza 2013
2. LEARNING TO READ IN ENGLISH WITH COMICS 2.2 Motivation to read in English Who is currently in full on the practice of teaching foreign languageknows the difficulty in motivating students to read something that is not in theirmother tongue. Even the Portuguese teachers complain about the lack ofinterest in reading, whether classical or contemporary literature. Awaken thesympathy of the students in reading in a foreign language has not been an easytask, but this is the most requested skills by PCNs (Parametros curricularesnacionais) and more necessary in the process of communication in the socialcontext in general. The first step we must take so that this problem can be solved is tomotivate our students. According to Fernandez (2009, p.64) the latest study inthe field of motivation are the linguist Dörnyei, in which he combines linguistictheories, the psychological and social class. The author divides the process intothree levels of motivation: the level of language, the students level and the levelof learning situation. The level of language is the most comprehensive and reflects the imagethat the student has the communities where the language is spoken, admirationor not the culture of the country of the target language, the prestige of the targetlanguage in the social context and the usefulness of language for thesestudents. The students level refers to the characteristics of individual students asthe desire for perfection and self-confidence. The desire for perfection awakensin students the need to succeed in running activities, while the self-esteeminvolves them. And the last level of the learning situation, refers to the components offormal learning as: content, teaching materials, teaching methods, how theteacher is needed in the classroom and how they are developed in the work
group. All these are factors that can increase or decrease the interest ofstudents by language that is being taught. In order to motivate students to read, we look in the comics the startingpoint for the development of this motivation. Once you have chosen a storyproduced in Brazil cultural differences are gently exposed, not causing muchdisgust or lack of understanding foreign customs. We do not want our studentsbecome admirers in countries that speak English, but we want them to learn torespect differences while allowing the idea that one culture is better thananother. We can see an example in the figure below two typical situations offoreign culture, but that is easily understood by students: fig.1 Figure 1: the notes from Monica are exposed not as numbers, but withletters, we don’t find this method of evaluation in Brazil, but it is clear to themthat there is a connection between the notes numerical Brazilian educationalsystem with the letters displayed here. Lets look now to Figure 2:
fig.2 In Figure 2 we have a moment of relaxation and fun in the class. In Brazilhardly would find a group of kids playing baseball in the street, this is also asituation in which we find traces of foreign culture. This is a way of motivating interms of language, English language learners adapt to the customs withoutdenigrating or exalting one culture or another. The story motivates students in appropriate level of perfection andconfidence. In the case of the high school where teenage boys and girls foundin the formation of personality, certain matters discussed in the stories canencourage reading and develop an interest in reading in a foreign language.Issues such as friendships, relationships, school, decisions, among others, willcollide directly with their reality and it reflects the theories of Holden (2009,p.71) argues that when the reading has to be done with pleasure. Know that the
dilemmas for which they are passing it also happens with other young peoplestimulate your self-confidence and consequently to generate interest in historyhis desire for perfection will be developed simultaneously. Sequenced or not thecomics arouse more and more like reading from the student, and this is anexcellent bridge for learning a foreign language. The level of learning is directlylinked to teacher performance in the classroom. For this reason we aside aspecific topic for this step.2.2 The teacher and the use of comics 2.2.1 The aid of images The comics can contribute greatly to the success of foreign languageteaching in many respects, but the biggest advantage is the teacher can explorethe variety of images that contains the comic, and how these communicate.Rossi (2009, p.9) defines the image as something that "seduces by its verypresence, as the word implies a linearity in their reading. The word evokessomething that is absent, the image is already present, here and now. " If the word and the image have both important functions in the cognitiveprocess can be concluded that the two together will do a more thorough jobwhen it comes to foreign language teaching. Beger (apud Rossi 2009, p.10) believes that "the view comes beforewords. The child sees before speaking." Whether they are images that movethe modern world we can not exclude them from the process of learning andteaching only code written. However, Nation and OToole (apud Procopio 2010,p.93) suggests: (..) need for careful selection of visual elements, because, for him, all forms of expressing meaning involve changing an idea in a way observable, therefore, indirect, and liable to be misinterpreted and can not give exact concept of the word .
Along with the foreign language classes can promote visual literacy ofstudents, since we are working with comics. Examine, for example, the textsthat are read as images may aid in understanding the context of the story.Eisner (1989, p.10) argues that "the lettering treated graphically and servicehistory is an extension of the image." In Eisner image below shows an examplewhere the way the letters are displayed the title of the story can elicit ideas onyour reading while not in their mother tongue. Fig. 3 The letters on the stone tablet make a reference to the TenCommandments given to Moses by God. The position of the character makesreference to a position of prayer. The word contract is a word cognate.Associating then words connate, inferences graphic image title we can easilyarouse our students to discover the meaning of the title as much as what it isabout this story. In the stories of Monicas gang is more common to find this kind ofimages literate. Consider:
Fig. 4 Fig.5 In picture 4 we see the title of the story linking the word son and a babyinto letter O. So they can realize that the baby has the characteristics of JimmyFive, explaining that the word son means a kinship between the baby and thecharacter highlighted. In Figure 5 makes this word giving the impression of movement,functions as a reference to its significance. Exploring the well-spelled words ordrawn around the meaning we can enrich the vocabulary of the students withoutbeing constantly resorting to the dictionary to discover the meaning of words oreven phrases.Another way to explore the meaning of words through images is throughonomatopoeia. These associated images can awaken the power of discovery oflearners of foreign language, especially in English because it is full of words thatmake reference to the sound of actions that they reproduce. Observe thefollowing figures:
Fig.6 Fig.7 In Figure 6 we find Jimmy Five shutting the door and the word slamwhich means something close to violence. In the same story, in Figure 7 wefound the baby ripping Jimmy’s comics and the noise as rip, rip, rip it meanstearing. Fig.8 Fig 9 In Figures 8 and 9 when we found the attack of Jimmy Five in Junior andwhen Junior retaliates by attacking with a shove, the word used to associate thesound with the action is thump, that means aggression. If we found the samestory four words that reflect their meaning through images, we can workconstantly this strategy and soon we will have students with a rich vocabulary,and when faced with a text that does not have any image, they will know themeanings simply by memorizing these words by pictures. The features of the characters and how the balloon is exposed or theirabsence in the story also conveys important information for understanding thecontext. In figure 10 the features of J-Five and Monica reflects the nervousness
of one and tentative to calm another. In addition to the features of the characterin bold font and shape of the balloon reflects the desperation of the character,thus facilitating understanding of the context of the overall framework. The images undoubtedly have much more to offer, however, we limitourselves to the above information. It is up to each teacher to seek the best wayto work the images and explore the vocabulary and meaning of the generalcontext of the story so engaging and effective for learning the target language. 2.2.2 Genre and comics Just as we can use the images to find out the context, we can also usethe context to introduce a lesson on text genres and their representations insociety. According Marcuschi (2008, p.155): (...) texts embodied in communicative situations recurring. The textual genres are the texts we encounter in our daily life and who are defined by characteristic patterns socio communicative functional compositions, styles and goals enunciative concretely realized in the integration of historical forces, social, institutional and technical. (...) Are empirical entities in communicative situations and express themselves in various assignments constituting in principle open lists. By working with the teaching of a foreign language is very importantthat we emphasize the textual genres targeted education, since they areconstantly used in communicative situations.
The comics of teen Monica daily episodes portrays a group of teenagerwho goes to school, have fun, use the modern means of communication, finally,we can find various kinds of texts embedded in the top stories. The report Monicas shown in Figure 1 can be an opportunity to displaythe name of the school subjects and their abbreviations for the newsletter. Callsphone messages can be a bridge for the teaching of virtual language, where theword you, for example, stops being written as you and just happens to bewritten as u because the phoneme is the pronoun cited. A letter explaining the next figure 11 can be a model to illustrate how to pay someone a letter, submit the degree of intimacy that reflects each word in the foreign language. We also address some issues grammar through text genres. For example, if we look at Figure 12, which shows the sign of a comic book store, so we can work the genre marquee commercial establishment like the possessive case. Fig 11 Fig. 12
However the conveniences of teaching grammar through comicsbeyond the work associated with textual genres. Then present some techniquesof how to exploit the grammar through daily situations in comics. 2.3 Functional Grammar in comics Although the textbooks now come under the criteria of PCNs, asteachers, we still find it difficult to work with the grammar in its functionality.Usually the texts are worked according to the grammatical rules to be learned inthat quarter or semester. We propose that the use of comic books can do the opposite, seekingduring the context of the narrative and to explain how the models are usedgrammatical, or even through the recurrence of these models in variouscontexts students can discover the same use and functionality of these rules.With the comics this technique becomes viable because, as we have seenabove, we have several text genres and everyday situations that contribute tothe understanding of language in their general context. According Tomitch (2009, p. 193) we should focus on readingcomprehension as the main objective to be attained in foreign languageclasses. And he reinforces saying: From this perspective, the teaching of reading strategies and / or the teaching of grammar and / or teaching vocabulary are seen as "tools" or "means" to achieve the ultimate goal and not as "ends" in itself. Teaching through the simple past by means of memories that thecharacter Monica, for example, has a day at the beach with J-Five is more likelyto pique the interest of young learners of the English language than any othertext, for a teenager. Gradually they realize they have previously learned verbsare modified, and the recurrence of the late ed and the use of did ininterrogative and negative sentences, they began to understand better, with the
help of the teacher, that these are the specific construction of the simple past inEnglish. The use of scenarios that refer to their daily lives, as J-Five using themodal verb can to ask for the car keys from his father can make the grammar isbetter understood than when simply explain their rules and examples exposeloose on the board to be followed in the exercise. One point that we consider very important in learning a second languageand that often is ignored by textbooks, are slang and abbreviations used in oralspeech. Teach only the formal language is a mistake we made in the teachingof foreign language and sometimes even the teaching of the mother tongue. It isimportant that the students learn the language as it is conveyed in modernsociety. If we analyze an advertisement realize that the language used is thatthe consumer will understand, otherwise the product will not be sold. Likewise we need to work with these words in foreign language. Themedia in times of globalization not only displays the formal language, then wemust be updated so that we will not train students who can not associateabbreviations or slang to what was learned in the classroom. In the stories produced for young people find a great variety of thislanguage. In Figures 13 and 14 we find two clear examples, see: Fig.13 Fig. 14
In a dialogue between J-Five and Smuge after Smudge proof uses thephrase I dunno referring to the phrase I do not know. We found that expressionconstantly being used in movies or television shows and even music. This typeof expression must be worked in a comparative, always making a parallelbetween the language and the language conveyed educated among youngnative speakers of English. As in the case of the word wanna, when used by Monica J-Fivequestions with the phrase: But you wanna know what? We can not neglectthese situations when teaching English. Anyway, there are different perspectives on how to work with Englishlanguage comics, this research only awaken readers to some of thesepossibilities. It is now up to each teacher to analyze his class of students andchoose the best way to work this kind of reading so rich in teaching strategies.
ReferencesEISNER, Will. Quadrinhos e Arte Seqüencial (tradução: Luís Carlos Borges)– 3o ed. – São Paulo: Martins Fontes, 1999.FERNANDEZ,G.E;CALLEGARI,M.V. Estratégias motivacionais para aulasde espanhol. São Paulo, Companhia Editora Nacional, 2009.HOLDEN, Susan. O Ensino da Língua Inglesa nos Dias Atuais. São Paulo,Special Book Services Livraria, 2009.MARCUSCHI, Luiz Antônio. Produção textual, análise de gêneros ecompreensão. São Paulo: Parábola Editorial, 2008.PROCÓPIO, R.B.; SOUSA,P.N. Letramento visual no ensino-aprendizagemde vocabulário em língua estrangeira. In The especialista, v3, nº1(93-118)2010.ROSSI, Maria Helena Wagner. Imagens que falam: leitura da arte na escola.Porto Alegre, Editora Mediação,2009.SOUZA, Mauricio de. Na eventful day!. Revista Monica teen. Nº3. Paninicomics, 2012.______.The love of an Angel. Revista Monica teen. Nº5. Panini comics, 2012.______.Count on me! Revista Monica teen. Nº2. Panini comics, 2012.______.Everyday adventures. Revista Monica teen. Nº1. Panini comics, 2012.______.Take of him, he’s your son. Revista Monicas’s gang. Nº21. Paninicomics, 2011.TOMITCH, Leda Maria Braga. Aquisição de leitura em língua inglesa. InEnsino e aprendizagens de língua inglesa. São Paulo, Parábola Editora,2009.