Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Comics – a new tool for teachers

A student drawing in deep concentration. 
The University of Eastern Finland organised a grassroots comics workshop as a part of a Master's programme for international students in February. The participants were mainly teachers from Namibia who studied in Joensuu in the Faculty of Education for a few months. The workshop was part of lecturer Raisa Simola's course ”African literature in primary education”. 

The course was open for everyone so also some Finnish and Japanese students had a chance to take part in the comics workshop. The workshop was tutored by Sanna Hukkanen, Artist and World Comics member who lives in Joensuu.

The workshop lasted only for three hours so the time was limited and all participants did not manage to finish inking their comics. But they were very enthusiastic about the subject and asked lots of questions. They also compared the situations in the sample comics from different countries with the situation in their home country. There was a short debate about disabled people's rights, just to mention one subject that came up.

The best part of the workshop, as always, was the discussion on the comics made by the participants. Seeing each others' work, and showing their own comics was inspiring. The students were positively surprised about how easy it was to draw the comics, but also about how well the others understood and interpreted them. The comics were readable and valid a across the cultural boundaries.

For the Namibian participants this was the first time ever that they made comics, for the others the medium was familiar. All participants were very happy to learn about grassroots comics and about the free materials for download in the World Comics website. They were sure that they will be using comics in their work in the future. They came up with many ideas on how comics could be used in teaching.

(posted by Sanna Hukkanen)

Comic by Andreas

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