Report Developing transferable writing skills through manga

Yasuta, Takako; Blake, John
Volume 02 - Issue 1
manga; academic writing; transferable skills
University of Hawaii National Foreign Language Resource Center; (co-sponsored by American Association of University of Supervisors and Coordinators; Center for Advanced Research on Language Acquisition; Center for Educational Reources in Culture, Language, and Literacy; Center for Open Educational Resources and Language Learning; Open Language Resource Center; Second Language Teaching and Resource Center)
Yasuta, T., & Blake, J. (2021). Developing transferable writing skills through manga. Second Language Research & Practice, 2(1), 140–153.
Full Record
This article describes how Japanese undergraduates developed transferable writing skills using manga, or Japanese comics. All learners in Japan have some familiarity with manga. In this project, learners created a manga for a local business to promote their product or service to non-Japanese customers. This project therefore not only benefits the learners but may also benefit the local community. Learners gathered or created information, sequenced the information, developed a story, and conformed to strict guidelines regarding copyright, content, layout, and format. The language features of manga were explored using guided discourse analysis, enabling learners to identify role language—that is, the linguistic features associated with a particular character. Learners then established role language for their manga characters and used the best matching expressions and sentence patterns in their speech. This novel approach is enjoyable, motivating and produces tangible outputs that can be shared online or in print. A critical reflection on the theoretical underpinnings provides evidence in support of this approach. Through writing manga, learners improved their awareness of register. Samples of student-created work show how learners co-constructed their text with envisaged audiences and created persuasive narratives. In the present report, we share practical tips on adopting this approach and avoiding potential problems.