1 Fukushima Medical University (JAPAN)
2 University of Aizu (JAPAN)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2020 Proceedings
Publication year: 2020
Pages: 1-9
ISBN: 978-84-09-17939-8
ISSN: 2340-1079
doi: 10.21125/inted.2020.0005
Conference name: 14th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 2-4 March, 2020
Location: Valencia, Spain
Our project contributes to a discourse on innovative approaches to language learning, which is an immanent part of cross-cultural communication. We study the possibility of using the unique elements of Manga design for the benefits of creating an environment addressing both educational perspectives and local community development. We also address the aspects of multimodality of language learning, where novel practices (such as poetry creation, learning metaphors, and use of prosody structures with personalized audio-visual tools) should not be understood as competitors but rather enhancers of traditional CALL scenarios creating new technology-driven solutions.

Manga (Japanese comics) uses a lot of emblematic conventions. Role language, which is a set of linguistic stereotypes associated with certain Manga character types, is one of these conventions. By adapting the idea of role language in EFL courses, the learning experience of unmotivated EFL learners can be improved. Role language also plays an important role in Manga localization, i.e. adapting an existing translation to fit the scope of conversation and to make sense in another language. This process helps students to understand the differences between language systems, thus to avoid straightforward (often inadequate) translation. From the societal perspective, students’ bilingual Manga designs may be used as parts of real-life problem-based projects contributing to the development and promotion of the local community.

Project Scope and Methodology:
We will show how a project-based Manga making activity using a comic creator could help low-intermediate college students to improve writing skills in English. The study was done by using L1 as preparation for L2 writing and establishing the matching role language for Manga characters in two languages. By using Manga and an online comic creator, we expect that the project would positively affect the learning attitude and motivation of computer-science majors who are generally believed to be Manga fans and enjoy online tools. Additionally, it was expected that working in groups would foster a sense of teamwork and produce Manga with better quality. Pre/ post-study surveys, comics created by students and their role language reports were used for data collection and analysis.

Expected Outcome:
The project for the revitalization of a disaster-hit area in Japan was introduced in an elective English course that focused on improving writing skills. As a part of this activity, course participants created Japanese-English bilingual Manga to advertise local restaurants, using a local mascot. They were encouraged to elaborate on the best matching linguistic features for the mascot to describe its personality. Each group turned in their Manga and a “role language report” that explained how and why certain linguistic features were chosen. It was found that the Manga project in L2 writing brought about a number of positive effects. Choosing the linguistic features that reflect the personality of Manga characters allowed students to use a variety of expressions and sentence patterns. They understood the relationship between certain linguistic features and their impressions. Our primary experience demonstrates that our students enjoy making Manga while learning new English expressions and conversational patterns, along with elementary cross-cultural communication and business skills.
Manga, L2 writing, role language, multimodality, project-based learning, college-level EFL.