Writers and Editors (Pat McNees's blog)
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Soundtrack of your life

January 5, 2012

Tags: multimedia, multimodal teaching, graphic novels, song lyrics

"Sean Connors studies the way adolescents understand and interact with graphic novels, the more sophisticated successor to comic books," writes Heidi Stambuck's in The Sights and Sounds of Literature (Research Frontiers, University of Arkansas). Chris Goering examines what happens when English teachers ask students to analyze their favorite song lyrics and relate the lyrics to their personal history and more traditional forms of literature. Connors and Goering, who teach English education at Arkansas's College of Education and Health Professions, are both trying to expand the "definition of what is valued as text."

Connors shows teachers how to engage students using graphic novels. Teachers think comics and graphic novels are not "real reading"; he encourages them to expand the classroom repertoire. Goering offers a lesson plan called "Soundtrack of Your Life," engaging students by "identifying pivotal events in their lives, then choosing a song to illustrate that event and writing about the two." (This is not a bad idea for life life writing students.) Their research is aimed at teachers, but communication generally is getting more multimodal (or multimedial?). We writers and editors must also learn to approach text in new ways.

Read the full story here.