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Comics for Inclusive English Language Learning

Project: Research

Description

The Comics for Inclusive English Language Learning (CIELL) project aims to develop the competences of second language teachers by promoting the use of comic art, and other visual representations of knowledge, to enhance the quality of teaching materials and make them more relevant to supporting the needs of dyslexic learners in a socially inclusive manner. Dyslexia is a specific learning disability characterized by difficulties with word decoding, spelling, handwriting, reading, memory and attention span (Kormos & Smith, 2012). The British Dyslexia Association say that 10% of the population have dyslexia, although figures quoted in the USA can be 15-20%, so the need to improve support for this learning difficulty is widespread.

The CIELL project is a collaboration between comic artists, language teachers and learning technology researchers, to create innovative open educational resources that enrich teaching practice and support dyslexic learners. The CIELL project is an extension of the ERASMUS+ ViLi project (https://www.viliproject.eu/) that aims to improve the visual literacies of educators, making learning more visual through static (e.g. comics, mind maps), dynamic (e.g. video) and interactive visuals (e.g. virtual reality). The CIELL project further develops static visual representations in learning.

The CIELL project aims to address the EU policies on social inclusion and digital competence by: enhancing the digital competence of second language teachers by providing a Compendium of open educational resources including a Teacher’s Pack and examples of the good practice in the use of comics in education; and developing innovative teaching materials delivered in a mobile application (app) to support more visual teaching and learning practices and increase the social inclusion of dyslexic learners. 

The mobile app will support dyslexic students studying for the British Council examination (IELTS) and Cambridge University English proficiency (C2), with a focus on opinion essays, reviews and article writing. For example, writing guidelines and sample essays will be created in comic form and other visual representations such as mind maps. The topics of the essay writing will be based on the 17 United Nations goals for 2030 (http://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/sustainable-development-goals/) as they have global relevance and appeal.
Educational researchers, language teachers and comic artists will create and refine the innovative teaching content and practices and these open educational resources will be shared freely, worldwide. Dyslexic language learners (60) and language teachers (30) will work closely with developers to refine the app, the teaching content (comics) and the Teacher’s Pack. A survey will also be conducted to discover examples of good practice in the use of comics in education, for inclusion in the Compendium, and it is expected that there will be 100-200 respondents. A conference for 100 researchers and practitioners will be arranged on the use of comic art for serious educational purposes. Dissemination is expected to reach 8000 through social media and inclusion within two massive open online courses.

The project will adopt an Educational Design Research methodology (McKenney & Reeves, 2012) that aims to design an intervention in a real educational setting, it is practice oriented as it is assessed by its practicality to users, it is interactive and participatory, as end-users are involved in a cyclical approach to design and evaluation where user perceptions influence redesign and redevelopment thereby maximising practical relevance.

The project also aims to improve theoretical knowledge by increasing understanding of what works best in teaching practice. We will strengthen the skills of educators in higher education and other educational settings by designing new content, linking visual approaches to language teaching to facilitate more socially inclusive education.

As teaching English as a Second Language and the writing of English is a key competence required for accessing Higher Education and global migration, the potential impact is huge. Long-term benefits include enhancing the digital competence of educators, stimulating further use of visuals in education, enhancing competitiveness and modernisation of HE, promoting education for all.

Layman's description

The Comics for Inclusive English Language Learning (CIELL) project is a collaboration between comic artists, language teachers and learning technology researchers, to create innovative open educational resources that enrich teaching practice and support dyslexic learners. The CIELL project aims to develop the competences of second language teachers by promoting the use of comic art, and other visual representations of knowledge, to enhance the quality of teaching materials and make them more relevant to supporting the needs of dyslexic learners in a socially inclusive manner. The project has been funded by is an ERASMUS+ Strategic Partnership in Higher Education for €234,289 over 2 years.
Short titleComics for Inclusion
AcronymCIELL
StatusActive
Effective start/end date1/12/1830/11/20

Funding

  • Erasmus+: £72,122.44

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