You might recall that I recently posted an article about making education more entertaining for our children so as to improve engagement? ( see /www.studyingwithdyslexiablog.co.uk//2017/10/how-to-build-engagement-with-kids-at.html)
In that article I showed a TEDx video from Rossie Stone who discussed how he used drawing comics to help him with his revision as a student and about how that made such a difference for him in terms of attainment.
|Rossie Stone & Friend!|
Given that Rossie is dyslexic I was really curious about this and wanted to know more so I asked him a few questions. His answers are below, but what is brilliant is that he wants to give you some advice on great ways to make education entertaining for your child. If you want to know that straight away click here, otherwise enjoy the interview below.
Can you tell us a bit about what it was like to be at school with dyslexia?
I didn’t feel bad for being dyslexic at school. There were a few people with dyslexia in the school, and it was nice to get the extra time and perks ~ because I needed them. It didn’t make me feel like an outsider just by being ‘dyslexic’.
It was the STRUGGLES that came with dyslexia that made school difficult for me. I felt (and was known as) the ‘stupid’ one for many years in my school life, and it felt like I was because I didn’t seem to be capable of excelling at any of the subjects the school system celebrated. I felt singled-out, crippled, and like there was no way in this system to celebrate who I naturally was and the way that I needed to interact with or learn, the educational content presented to me.
We know that you love comics and that you currently design and produce them, but tell us why they are so important to you?
I had always loved and enjoyed reading comics, even from a young age. I got into the pictures first, and then the love of the pictures and stories encouraged me to read the words bit by bit. I am now at the stage where I can read novels for fun, (something I wouldn’t have dreamed of in my school days), but most of my vocabulary, reading-skill, and interest in reading has come from comics, graphic novels, TV Shows, and story-based computer games.
Comics were the most prominent force in this during my upbringing, and I even loved making them myself. My brothers used to make comics when they were younger too, so this also inspired me from an early age. The fact that comics gave me a way to excel, and to have my abilities be celebrated, and as well as indulge in something I loved - meant they were already very important to me before I started turning my revision into them. When I started doing that, I realised how powerful they were for me as a successful way to revise. It also occurred to me that other people could benefit from them too.
Rossie, it seems like you went against the expected way to study at school in order to get better grades. It is almost like you ripped up the education rule book and studied in your own way?
That’s because the rule book wasn’t working for me. I wasn’t only bad at the work, I also seemed to be bad at keeping to the rules that were there to help me achieve more with my school work. Conventional study methods just weren’t working for me.
This system felt to me like it was made for winners and losers and I was bound to be one of those losers, as if by default. It was unheard of to have a whole year where ‘everyone’ is as good at, and engaged with their school work as each other or anywhere near that, frankly.
Studying the normal way was boring, unrewarding, and so difficult to tap into and I didn’t seem to have any natural skill in conventional methods. A lot of this was down to my dyslexia of course, and the struggles to absorb information, but that kind of condition was made so much harder by the fact the work was presented in such a dull, uninspiring way that relied so heavily on the skill of reading and digesting written information, which had been the bane of my school life.
So what was there to lose? I dropped the techniques that were causing me pain and not delivering great results, to a technique that made much more sense to me and at least seemed to celebrate who I was and what I enjoyed in and out of the school context: art, drawing, stories, comics… Why not make my hellish exam revision this way and see if I at least enjoy the process more…?
Why was studying using comics so helpful to you?
The information was so much easier to understand in the comic format. Comics, by their nature, force you to be concise with information. You can only have so many words per panel/box before the panel becomes overcrowded. The visuals must dominate the words as a whole in order for the dynamic to work, yet it doesn’t undermine the value of the information you’re digesting.
Furthermore, I had a visual and a point of narrative to remember the information by and because I focused on it being entertaining, they were fun and easy visuals with stories to remember. This was how I connected to my enjoyment and sense of self-validation in my spare time, and being able to do it with my academic work actually helped convey school information (that I had been struggling with and resisting) much more naturally.
Drawing comics didn’t just make revision more enjoyable, and they didn’t just vastly improve my grades either. They also improved my relationship with myself and with education itself. These comics helped me in realising that I wasn’t ‘the stupid one’ after all.
Can you give us some advice on how we could draw comics to help our children to revise and study?
Yes I certainly can. Making a comic out of schoolwork isn’t as complicated as some might think. If it can be written down, it can be made into a comic. However, I can help people get into the right mindset for making the most of the technique, as well as giving them the important tips of structure to get them started with.
It fundamentally starts with getting the points of information you’re wanting revise or teach someone else. Once you have that, it’s then a case of turning it into a story of some kind. One helpful thing to do is think of something that you (the comic maker) enjoy and can relate to, (be it characters, or certain colours, or your favourite TV Show etc), and then make sure that, or something that embodies that enjoyment , is featured in how you tell the story of that comic. That is what creates the best of the ‘entertainment’ side of the comic.
So if you’re a fan of football, and are wanting to learn your 5 times table, it can be a comic story about two teams of footballers (maybe based on ones you admire in real life?) and they’re playing a special game where each goal they score, are given 5 points instead of 1, in penalty shoot-outs. The story can be leading up to ‘who will win out of the two teams?’. That way you have the thing you enjoy, the thing you’re trying to teach, and a story to lead the whole thing. It makes for a great comic while also being an educational lesson.
If you would like to find out more Rossie has put together a short e-book called ‘Five Ways To Make Education More Entertaining.’
It’s just for you!
It’s just for you!
Simply click the banner below and request your copy.
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