Carrie Rogers-Whitehead, an instructor, writer and self-proclaimed “geek” explores the ways characters, stories and fandoms increase student engagement and encourages us to find what we identify with. Graphic novels and the fantasy and superhero fandoms they bring to life, aren’t just entertainment, they are tools for learning. “What is your fandom?”
Carrie Rogers-Whitehead, who spearheaded the JJS graphic novel project this last year talks about the experience in her TEDx talk and how learning can be transformative when youth care deeply about the subject matter.
“I’ve seen that learning increase first-hand through working with the talented teens involved in Juvenile Justice Services. They come from different backgrounds and cultures. Learning is not one-size-fits all—and sometimes these students don’t “fit” with traditional models. But there are things that unite them and they care about—and one of those things is graphic novels and the characters and stories those books contain.
In my TEDx talk I share a few of those stories, but one I didn’t include is about Batman. I’ve seen many people relate to the character of Batman.
One of the most insightful discussions of Batman came from JJS youth during our talk about The Killing Joke by Alan Moore. Most of The Killing Joke involves Batman and the Joker talking to each other—and by the end you don’t really know who the villain or the hero is. When stories and characters make you sit back and evaluate your own biases, that’s one of the most powerful learning tools there is.
“We learn when we care.” And I’ve been privileged to see some of this learning take place from the smart teens of JJS.”
Watch the talk here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z3PWticpgd0