Value of Cartoons for Educational Purposes
Editorial or political cartoons express opinions on public issues and officials. They are readily accessible, appearing in every major newspaper in the world (and in many local and regional papers, as well) and appeal to all levels of readers. The people who draw these cartoons possess a special art skill which often incorporates caricatures, symbolism, satire, and a well-rounded understanding of the issues about which they draw.
Editorial cartoons teach students to identify issues, analyze symbols, acknowledge the need for background knowledge, recognize stereotypes and caricatures, think critically, and appreciate the role of irony and humor.
Richard Ostrom of California State University, Chico, writes, “Student presenters report that it is a fun challenge to ‘decipher’ the elements of a cartoon . . . because the process is so intellectually satisfying (like solving a puzzle).” He cites the following uses for cartoons in the classroom [From “An Active Learning Strategy for Using Cartoons . . . .” posted at http://isanet.ccit.arizona.edu/noarchive/ostrom.html]:
“In fact, most young people get their news from political cartoons.
Every state in the United States has middle and high school students
interpret an editorial cartoon as part of state-mandated testing. Teachers
who must ‘teach to the test’ include political cartoons in
their classes. Students learn their current events through political
cartoons and, ironically, most of the students see newspaper editorial
on the Internet rather than on paper." [Daryl Cagle, "Of Cartoonists
and Cockroaches," syndicated colum appearing in the Pekin
Daily Times, November