2019 TJ Comics: Monthly English Comics

Introducing, the very creative TJ Comics team: Bungai, Vanessa, Genius, Agnes, & Farah.
When I found out that the students at my school: (1) read at levels several years below their current age, (2) don’t read in English, & (3) don’t have English language reading materials easily available. I decided to print essays from students for students every month & have them pasted in every class.

What if I have students who can barely read due to years of academic neglect & literacy drought?

My students hail from all over Sarawak, including rural areas and low-income communities. Unlike SMS/MRSM/Kolej, our sports school does not turn away students who perform poorly in their studies. We have accepted and kept students with straight Es as long as they have good discipline & they show commitment to their sport. Where they come from does not determine where they will be in the future. I believe my students have the ability to face their fears, improve, and win.

What kind of reading material would such students be able to comprehend & benefit from?

After discovering Vanessa Emelda Austin's spectacular doodles during a semester exam, I recruited her to choose & lead a team of peers in producing handmade comics each month. I would then proofread, have her revise, scan, print & have the comic posted on the noticeboard of each classroom at school.

My form 5 class certainly enjoyed reading the comics.

How was it?

It was certainly very encouraging to see students swarm towards the comics immediately after it was posted & hear some chuckles. This graphic-based reading material may have been designed for the lowest ability levels, but it is appreciated by students of all levels. I have certainly achieved my goal of flooding my students' environment with relevant reading materials in English.

What's to come?

I plan to run a comic contest at the beginning of the year to identify talents at my school. These talents will then be included in the TJ Comics team led by Vanessa. As you can probably tell from the comics I've shared below, the topics are very kiddish & girly. I will suggest future comics be based on folklore or Malaysian/English idioms, so students can learn about their our culture & idioms at the same time. My dream is to compile all of the comics into a book so that all of Malaysia can benefit from the creativity of SMK Tabuan Jaya & improve their English language skills as well.

2019 TJ Comics

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