Integrating a Graphic Novel in a German Foreign Language Class: Effects on Students' Acquisition, Attitude, and Motivation
Weitzel, Helene A.
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Researchers have investigated the effects of reading on foreign language acquisition and have found that reading generally impacts foreign language development positively. However, if learners are not very proficient in their language skills, reading can interfere with the processing required to learn from the input. Reading a graphic novel in the foreign language classroom is an approach to ensure that input becomes intake, because the format inherently supports readers with visual clues and allows them to understand authentic materials. Looking at the research done so far, no study has focused specifically on the effects of reading a graphic novel on the acquisition of German language skills at the elementary level of language instruction. The present study involved a qualitative case study design. The author sought to improve language and attitudinal development through the integration of a graphic novel in the German foreign language classroom. Results suggest that reading a graphic novel seems to have positively impacted some learners’ language skills and attitude towards the target language, or at least strengthened their skills. However, not every student appears to have benefited equally, which implies that the integration of a graphic novel only benefits a particular type of learner in the learning progress and cannot be understood as a general means of instruction. Mainly students who perceived the reading to be beneficial to their language development actually seem to have profited from it.
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