Friday, September 14, 2007

Part 2 Cartooning Your Way to English or Foreign Language Learning Success

Not Available in English?

By all means, do let Felix the Cat, the Pink Panther, the Simpsons, Garfield, the Power Puff Girls, Hagar the Horrible, the Wizard of Id, Peanuts gang and a generous host of English language cartoon and comic strip characters lend fun, flavor, magic and a whole new dimension to your English as a foreign language or foreign language learning classes.

But what can you do if cartoons and comics are not available in English where you are? Suggestions and recommendations for further English or foreign language teaching and learning options will be discussed for those who live in countries (like here in Colombia) or regions where NO English language feeds are present.

Braj Kashru’s Circles

Language learning researcher Braj Kashru categorized countries into three circles of English language influence. The “Inner” circle is comprised of those countries and regions which have English as the first or official language. Countries such as the United States, Canada, Australia, England and more than a dozen other countries are included in the “Inner” circle.

The “Middle” circle is comprised of those countries and regions where English is a useful second, but highly recognized and accepted language. Countries such as India, Panama, Kenya, and several other countries with a high number of indigenous languages are included in this group.

The “Outer” circle is comprised of those countries and regions where English has no official status, is not widely spoken and is considered a completely foreign language. Many countries in South America, Asia and on the African continent are included in this group. The language status of any country is ultimately, subject to change and these examples are by no means meant to be “concrete”.

When the available cartoons and comics are not in English, you certainly can still use them.

But how?
Who and What’s Available

Many cartoon and comic strip series are either dubbed or translated into the local language of a regional people. In addition though, there are cartoon and comic strip series originally done in a language other than English. Examples I know of include:

· Asterix and Friends done in French
· Mafalda written and produced in Spanish
· Condorito also written in Spanish

There are, very likely, many others in countries around the world similarly produced and written in languages other than English. These may, or may not, be available to English or foreign language learners in their desired language. If you know of any, I’d appreciate an e-mail letting me know about some of them and the language they’re in.
Use these then for activities including those mentioned earlier in addition to:

· Translation exercises
· Creating learner-produced dialogues (written and oral)
· Acting out dramatic scenes and situations

Don’t Forget About …
Don’t forget to keep an eye out for any political caricatures and humor from the editorial pages of newspapers and magazines that you might be able to use in the English or foreign language learning classroom. Also, you can occasionally find collections of comics in local bookstores.
Hopefully you will find some of these ideas and suggestions helpful for allowing the likes of characters such as Superman, Batman, Spiderman, the X-Men, the Incredible Hulk, and the Flash along with a vast army of super heroes and cartoon or comic strip characters to lend more dynamics and humor to your English as a foreign language classes.

Up, up and away!

Prof. Larry M. Lynch is an English language teaching and learning expert author and university professor in Cali, Colombia. Now YOU too can live your dreams in paradise, find romance, high adventure and get paid while travelling for free. For more information on entering or advancing in the fascinating field of teaching English as a Foreign or Second Language send for his no-cost pdf Ebook, “If You Want to Teach English Abroad, Here’s What You Need to Know”, by sending an e-mail with "free ELT Ebook" in the subject line. For comments, questions, requests, to receive more information or to be added to his free TESOL articles and teaching materials mailing list, e-mail:

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