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Using comic strips for DRR Learning

How deeper level learning can be initiated via the use of comic strips, films and other media to trigger discussion, personalisation of risk and resilience to disaster risk

Justin Sharpe

on 8 October 2016

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Transcript of Using comic strips for DRR Learning

"Welcome to my Island of learning!"

"My name is Justin Sharpe, a doctoral
candidate from the Department of
Geography, King's College London.
Today we will discuss:

1. How we make key DRR information stick.
2. How we can engage audience interest.
3. Consider what advertisers do in order to make preparation and action towards
disaster risk desirable!"
Educational Approaches (Liked by Government and agencies that work for them)

Idea is laudable BUT there are problems with this approach:

1. Often assumes knowledge deficit.
2. Can be extremely didactic/lecturing.
3. Built on the assumption of the 'rational individual'.
4. Limited evidence on long-term impact and ability to build self-efficacy in individuals
Education is sometimes seen as a top-down, one-way process of bestowing knowledge on the ignorant. Instead, one aspect of education to be emphasised is involving people on their own terms, highlighting their own interests with educational materials and actions produced by the people themselves (e.g. Freire, 1970;Wisner, O’Keefe, &Westgate, 1977).

Student–teacher interaction can sometimes be facilitated by reducing the power relationship and hierarchy, in order to promote more of an exchange, with each party supporting and gaining from the other. Critical thinking is key, with the teacher facilitating the student’s learning process, much along the lines of the “guided discovery” approach in international development (Bruner, 1961).

Resilience building should allow individuals and communities to cope with the shocks from disasters Paramount to which is the ability to learn. This requires an open mind and self-efficacy (e.g. Bandura, 1977, 1997) meaning that individuals are not deterred by challenge and failure but, to the contrary, enjoy overcoming them.

Consequently children and youth are targeted both for their adaptability and resilience as well as being the source of messages that can be transmitted to the household.

The type of learning required, therefore, cannot be achieved in one catch-all programme, but perhaps needs to become embedded with what we know from the fields of psychology and sociology as well as education.

Using comic strips as a medium of communication for learning has a relatively long history (e.g. Marston, 1944; Hutchison, 1949; Williams, 1995; and Yang, 2003) and indeed has been used not just with children but for adult education as well, more recently with education related to HIV and AIDS. For instance, the long running HIV/AIDS story that appeared on New York City subway cars in the early to mid 1990’s aimed at warning the Hispanic community of the dangers of the disease.

Furthermore, it is recognized that the comic strip medium has been embedded within many cultures as an effective way for communication but also of cultural significance as witnessed by it use within the pop art movement (a 20th century form of artwork influenced by modern popular culture and practiced by Roy Lichtenstein (1923-1997) and Andy Warhol (1928-1987) for example), which has in turn, influenced its use in advertising film and vice-a-versa.
Furthermore, easily understood messages are more likely to be assimilated and remembered, which is why ‘Stop, Drop and Roll’ is used for fire safety and “Drop, Cover and Hold-on” is used for earthquake safety.

Therefore, it is the very visual format of comics that allows them to be understood and provoke an empathetic reaction. Yang in (2003) recognizes this when he notes that comic create ‘an intimate, emotional connection between his students and characters of a comic story’ (Yang, 2003, online). Furthermore, Williams (1995) cite comics as being a ‘permanent visual component’ when used in his classes while Yang (2003) outlines how the visual permanence of comic books adds to literary permanence from books that use only text as their meaning.

Learning takes place at the pace of the learner, allowing him/her to progress in his or her own timeframe. Yang (2003) sums this up well:

Time within a comic book progresses only as quickly as the reader moves her eyes across the page. The pace at which information is transmitted is completely determined by the reader. In educational settings, this "visual permanence" firmly places control over the pace of education in the hands (and the eyes) of the student.
(Yang, 2003, online)

When danger does occur
we need to know how to act,
but Googling it now is not useful
or practical. (Actually I'm not
sure why I'm smiling either!

So we need to know
how to...

...prepare for and
react to
hazard events!

Quick Quiz on Lightning safety:

1. When a lightning storm occurs
how can you tell when the storm is
getting close and you may be
in danger?
Use social media such as Twitter and Facebook in creative ways to engage or challenge your audience!
We all like QI type facts!
Short punchy clips work best!
To get information into communities that don't have TV or internet we can use traditional comic strips in local papers. These can be 'taught' and then blank
versions used to let the story be retold...

In Iran this was a critical step in embedding the experience in the minds of the students as
they will be more likely to be able to recall not just the information, but the experience
and context as well, allowing the learning to become deeper and more concrete.

This is significant because it shows that they had processed information in a relatively short
period of time, had understood its significance and were able to communicate this well
to their peers. Although knowledge in itself may be interesting and in some cases act as
a stimulus that triggers curiosity, it becomes lost in the need to learn new information
next time. Often reflection and testing are not part of this approach, hence only
closed-loop learning occurs which by definition closes the door on further reflection
as the next key learning objective is to be acquired.

Peschl (2007) makes reference to this being the dominant paradigm within classrooms in schools,
colleges and universities, before suggesting that there needs to be a movement from double to
triple-loop learning. This allows for knowledge to be constructed while exploring “ones
own assumptions, premises ideological attitudes, etc.” (Peschl, 2007, p.137). Integral to
this, is reflection which becomes part of the loop.
Full transcript