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Critical Thinking Through Re-Writing Comics

John Pereira

Big and small, black and white, hard and soft, dry and wet, linear and non-linear .... Poles that are far apart, aren't they? Yes, but not all is lost! Not yet, anyway.

Take a non-linear story in a picture-word format, and ask your students to re-write it in as linear a way as is possible, and, what do we get? An exercise in critical thinking.

Yes, this transformation of a pic-word format to a linear, words-only format involves numerous decisions along the way due to the loss of the pictures and the nature of the pic-word format (which, of course, is different from the pictures and words format).

I've used this writing technique in numerous classes, especially academic writing classes, and have found that it is the easiest way to go about teaching Japanese students how to adjust to the Aristotelian way of thinking. It's quite simple, and here is how you do it.

Students work on their own or in groups to re-write comics. It is important that they communicate through words only all the visual information, including the linkage made possible because of the pictures. This can be quite a challenge, for - as we know - a picture is worth a thousand words ... and a pic-word format is worth even more.

After the students have completed re-writing the dialogue from a picture-word format to a words-only format, the teacher should critically examine what has been written and help them make necessary changes. For example, how accurately did they describe the people, the situation, the actions, the transitions ...?

Here, then, are a few examples to set the pace .....

Example 1

Example 2

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