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Cartoons for Learning

November 5, 2011

I have found political cartoons are a great way to promote learning and discussion on topical issues, especially with sixth form students. They’re a very good way to take students through a series of questions, from simple to complex, and of course they provoke students to ask good questions too.

So what I do is take a screen grab of a cartoon and then devise a series of questions of increasing complexity. With this cartoon, my questions might be:

  • what news event does this cartoon illustrate?
  • who are the characters in the cartoon?
  • what is the point the cartoonist is making about these politicians and their relationship with Gaddafi?
  • should Gaddafi have been executed on the spot, or put on trial?
  • was the West and NATO right to intervene in Libya?

The point I always make to my students is that simple questions (like the first two) only have one possible answer, but complex questions have lots of possible answers. However, you can only begin to reach an answer to the complex questions, if you know the answer to the simple ones!

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