Earlier we mentioned that some parents and teachers didn’t consider graphic novels to be a type of literature suitable for reading, which could help the young to grow into readers and develop their culture of expression. It is a fixed belief that comic books have a bad influence to the young, undermining their culture of expression. However, librarians and educators tend to recognize that use of quality graphic novels for teaching the young represents a legitimate method of “telling stories” which is aimed to motivate children who do not like to spend their time with books to become readers. Thus graphic novels encourage reading habits of the young.
The idea that graphic novels are just oversimplified stories is obsolete nowadays. The quality graphic novels available to today readers represent such a demanding material, which requires reading skills for understanding of its contents, to the same extent as for traditional fiction. Readers are required to be actively involved into decoding contents and to understand the narrative structure, metaphors and symbolism. By using visual contents through narration, that is to say, intertextuality, reading graphic novels can help students to develop their reading skills necessary for understanding even some challenging works, including literary classics, too.
3. Do Graphic Novels Deserve Their Place in The History Curriculum?
Many teachers and educationalist have recorded a great progress in achievements of children, after integrating graphic novels into the teaching process, especially in the fields of the English language, the Serbian language and arts. They have discovered that graphic novels can be very useful teaching tools which help students to analyse critically the particular aspects of language, literature and arts. Graphic novels combine a written narration with illustrations in a unique fashion, that is to say, they can tell a story through a dialogue or provide information and explain a term, or provoke emotions by the sequence of illustrations.
Graphic novels are about to find their place in school curriculum. Historical graphic novels have a great potential to bring the past closer to students thus modernizing the traditional process of teaching history. The richness of a narrative structure and layers of contents provide a way to help students understand the complexity of individual phenomena and processes in history. By using graphic novels for teaching, teachers enable students to understand some of the greatest challenges of historiography, especially such delicate and controversial issues as: crimes of genocide, the Holocaust, terrorism and like. By analysing graphic novels we deepen students’ understanding of individual complex historical processes in much greater extent compared to the traditional teaching process based on mere interpretation of the contents. Nowadays use of game (gamification) in teaching process represents one of the greatest educational challenges.
Teachers are offered a wide spectrum of methods of using graphic novels in teaching process:
- as a source of illustrations – analysis of the visual sources of knowledge;
- providing a source of information – a way of learning new knowledge;
- used for initiating a conversation and discussion with students;
- the individual creations of comic books – students create their own visual stories