Make more use of comics in teaching

The storytelling and comics approach researched and tested by the National Institute of Education to stimulate students' interest and curiosity in learning mathematics is to be lauded ("Reading comics in class? It's just a way to learn maths"; May 30).

Mathematics is fundamental to life and is an approach to analytical and logical thinking. It is a subject that requires an understanding of fundamental concepts, as opposed to rote learning and repetitive mathematics practice.

A growing child needs subjective and objective tools to understand mathematics, and comics and storytelling texts have emerged as a powerful teaching instrument to motivate and support struggling students, unlike the days when reading comics in class was frowned upon.

The use of comics in education is based on the concept of creating engagement and motivation for students. Comics allow children to interact with both text and images to construct meaning.

Emerging research has shown that comics are becoming highly effective teaching materials in several developed countries, as they convey large amounts of information in a short time.

As schools endeavour to ensure that students are not left behind in the learning process, it is imperative that teachers adapt their teaching to the developing needs of their students.

This means utilising different teaching methods and tools, even comics, to interest students in a topic. However, many educators may still be sceptical about using comics to teach.

With the education authorities here gradually appreciating the educational potential of comics and graphic texts, it is hoped that they will create guidebooks to help teachers make use of comics, not only in mathematics but also in science and social studies, and in building complex literacy skills.

V. Subramaniam (Dr)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 09, 2016, with the headline 'Make more use of comics in teaching'. Print Edition | Subscribe