Graphic Novels in the Foreign Language Classroom: Teaching Central American History in the Target Language
Date of Degree
Language and Literacy Education | Liberal Studies
Graphic novels are becoming increasingly helpful in the foreign language classroom. As a Spanish teacher in the Bronx, I have introduced numerous graphic novels into my lessons. Some graphic novels include familiar characters and are presented in a translated work, while others are graphic novels that were originally printed in Spanish. I have witnessed the advantages of using graphic novels in my classroom as the illustrations provide my readers with context clues to better understand the reading. I have also found some graphic novels that focus on historical events in Latin America but these works were either written entirely in English or Spanish. This would present a problem in my foreign language classroom that includes multiple levels of readers. I normally would include multiple texts to differentiate in my classroom but this became increasingly difficult when I teach a room of twenty eight students without a co-teacher, with only two levels of Spanish in the school, and I am the only foreign language teacher. While these resources were helpful, I noticed that many historical graphic novels focused on what I call “The Big Six” which are six countries I believe are featured with greater frequency in curriculums, media, and history. These six countries include: Mexico, Colombia, Argentina, Cuba, Puerto Rico, and The Dominican Republic. While there are 33 countries in Latin America, 20 of which speak Spanish, there has not been much focus on Central American history. For my capstone I have created a graphic novel chapter written entirely in Spanish that focuses on the Salvadoran Civil war. This graphic novel chapter is a direct response to the lack of resources on Central American history and the desire to utilize my skills as a foreign language educator in a medium that is both favored and enjoyed by my students.
Guzmán, Vanessa Elizabeth, "Graphic Novels in the Foreign Language Classroom: Teaching Central American History in the Target Language" (2022). CUNY Academic Works.