TEACHING ENGLISH USING A BILINGUAL SCIENCE LITERACY COMIC
There is no doubt that for those who are not English native speakers, to learn this language is imperative.
The difficulties presented by the acquisition of the skills and competences related to a foreign language can be reduced with the incorporation of ICT in different areas of the educational process. One of them is the possibility of using bilingual educational material, accessible in an electronic way and with playful components. Because the students work daily in a world where images and the internet become more and more dominant, we have chosen as a vehicle for learning, a comic book accessible through computer networks.
As everybody knows, the learning process is much more effective involving communication of meanings which are appealing to learners, in order to achieve goals. The principle underlying this is that learning will be more effective where language is used purposefully.
The comic provides easily understandable concepts. It is an open and flexible tool, useful for those involved in teaching English and in teaching Sciences
It can also be the basis for developing teaching materials and activities giving the scope for working individually and in collaborative groups. It allows teachers to give useful formative feedback to their students, which in turn leads to learning
As the language use is seen as purposeful, the comic sets out a socio-cognitive approach, developing communicative language competences in a natural context.
The comic in all its variants, not only comic books for children or adult literature, is experiencing a new boom.
This is the case of the experience described in this paper: the use of the science literacy comic book "Granny Tell Me Why", which we have already described in other works and which is now also accessible to students through computer networks and their mobile devices.
The comic, of fortnightly periodicity, tells the adventures of a high school student living with his grandmother, a divorced and very active scientist. Science topics are developed in the comic, through exiciting adventures they live together.
The first full season (24 issues), of the three so far developed, has been translated into English. The comics are made available to readers through a web platform that downloads a new story every fortnight.
In addition, through a content manager system, teachers are provided with manuals for the use of comics in the classroom for the development of typical language teaching skills: Written Comprehension, Oral Comprehension, Oral Expression and Written Expression.
An evaluation instrument was developed and applied to know the opinion of teachers and students about topics such as whether there was a greater interest of the students, if they improved their grades or if it favored the development of multidisciplinary skills.
Pilot tests are currently being carried out in primary and secondary schools in Spain to evaluate the effectiveness of the comic as a vehicle tool for improving English language skills. After using the comic in the classroom, the results will be analyzed from the point of view of english teachers, science teachers and students. Surveys will also assess the cross-skills that the comic foster, such as autonomy, teamwork, leadership, initiative, self-evaluation.