Sunday, May 8, 2016

Spark Your Learning Via Comics

Picture Source: shutterstock

The internet provides language teachers and learners with numerous resources and materials by which teachers can create meaningful tasks and learners make their learning more attractive and fun. This availability makes it enable for us to reach another valuable source, MakeBeliefsComixfor creating stories in language learning/teaching process. Let me introduce this tool of which presentation is made by my two friends, Cansu and Elçin, in the classroom.

Makebeliefscomix is a website in which students can make their comics online. This free web-based tool aims to encourage learners to express themselves by creating comic strips through dialogues. The site has a database which offers fun animals, human characters, objects and scenes. All features of the website develop reading, writing and literacy of learners.Comic strips don't require long sentences or paragraphs to build a good story. Only a few words are needed to convey the feeling of the story. 
''Users can select from more than 175 fun human and animal characters with different moods -- happy, sad, angry, worried -- and write words for blank talk and thought balloons to make their characters talk and think. There also are story ideas and prompts to help users create graphic stories. ''  
  Makebeliefscomix is a good and easy path into practising the English language. It can develop students' creativity, help their form-focused grammar practise activities in which learners try to come up with stories by using newly learnt structures, encourage them to write dialogues on specific topics (bad habits, animal rights, global warming etc.) and create stories. 


The point is how to use MakeBeliefsComix in the classroom. How can teachers use the tool and integrate it in their teaching?

Some Ways To Use MakeBeliefsComix In The Classroom
  • At the beginning of a new school year, after they introduce the tool to the students and show an outcome created by themselves, teachers can have students create their own comic strip talking about themselves so that students can learn more about each other. Each student can select a cartoon character to represent her or him and write dialogues about their lives and introduce themselves to their friends. After they complete their strips, they can change these autobiographical comic strips with each other. This activity can also help teachers to know more about their students.
  • Students can practise newly learnt vocabulary words by using makebeliefscomix. Teachers can assign them to use new vocabulary words in each thought balloon and create a comic strip story. This activity can help students practise conversation and language structure in a meaningful context.
  • Teachers can also have students create a comic in which characters reflect on a particular problem for example bullying. Students can create scenes that includes dealing with a school bully or with a problem at home or with a friend. They can print their products and share them with the rest of the class. This activity can provide a way for students to think about and resolve such problems. By this way, teachers can prevent students create similar problems and raise their awareness beside improving their language skills.
The number of ways to use MakeBeliefsComix in teaching is limitless. I suggested some of them, you can find further examples on the internet. Some of teachers using the tool in their classroom share their experiences on various language teaching related websites. They offer very practical and utilizable activities by using MakeBeliefsComix. I suggest you to make use of such real life examples and customize them in your teaching process.

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