Mississippi State University Libraries has sought to expand and promote our graphic novel collection; one way we have done this is by introducing the format to students and professors in the Department of Curriculum, Instruction, and Special Education (CISE). Over the last several years, professors in CISE have consistently requested regular instruction in graphic novel use for their education majors, particularly in two classes that focus on child and adolescent literacy. In these classes students are required to read a graphic novel and prepare a book talk or lesson plan that incorporates the material. While these students are tangentially aware of the genre of comics in popular media, they generally do not think of the format as a tool for learning before this class. Our library instruction sessions for these classes use examples from our Educational Resources Collection, a specialized online research guide, database and catalog instruction, and guided searching in the stacks. In addition, we introduce students to Will Eisner’s concept of “the grammar of sequential art,” illustrating how the unique combination of symbols and blank space narrate and inform in a way regular text does not. After the instruction, we expect these up-and-coming teachers to walk away with a greater knowledge and understanding of these unique resources, and carry that into their future careers as educators.
comics, graphic novels, education, curriculum, literacy
Downey, Elizabeth M. “What Would Barbara Gordon Do? Teaching the Language of Comics to Education Majors.” Presentation at the Joint Conference of the National Popular Culture & American Culture Associations, Washington, DC, April 18, 2019.