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The Cartoon Universe – Atomic Ian Reporting for Duty

It’s always good as a teacher to revisit the ground upon which you have previously tread (1) and to reflect upon the extent to which you have dug below the surface, shifted direction, or gone in circles. So when I was asked to update an article that I wrote about cartoons (2) three years ago, I thought it would be, if nothing else, edifying. In doing so, I discovered that over the course of that time, I haven’t changed my attitude towards cartoons but actually feel stronger about their potential use in the classroom. But I have learned a few things!

Comics in the Classroom: Look Before You Leap

Advocates for the inclusion in the curriculum of comics and graphic novels as ‘literary’ works are no doubt right about their potential to engage young readers, and perhaps even reluctant ones. Research so far indicates that students are attracted to their use in school curricula.

RESPONDING TO POPULAR CULTURE – Material adapted from John Fiske: Understanding Popular Culture and

True popular culture (not necessarily the mainstream, commercial products that call themselves ‘pop culture’) is made from within and below, not imposed from within or above. It is always a culture of conflict and resistance, involving the struggle to make social meanings that are in the interests of the subordinate (ie, those without power). The victories, however limited, in this struggle produce popular pleasure.

Where are the Super Heroes of Colour?

I have often used the theme of Super Heroes to teach media literacy with junior students. It is a great tool to get students to think critically about the world in which they live. It is also a good topic because often students who are experts on super heroes are not the best readers and writers.