Date of Graduation

Spring 5-15-2020

Document Access

Project/Capstone - Global access

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL)


School of Education


Teaching English as a Second Language

First Advisor

Yi Guan


English proficiency in Japan has historically been lower than other Asian countries despite students learning English as a core subject beginning in elementary school. To help address this, Japan has brought thousands of assistant language teachers (ALTs) from native English-speaking countries through both government and private companies to help teach English and promote foreign cultural exchange. These teachers often experience cultural misunderstandings and microaggressions from both colleagues and students yet must continue to respectfully teach culture as cultural ambassadors. The purpose of this project is to design a handbook that guides ALTs working with middle school students in how to incorporate graphic novels, or comic books, in the classroom to practice speaking, listening, reading and writing, as well as to touch on aspects of American culture. The project is intended to provide interesting, fun, and authentic materials for Japanese English learners by using activities and graphic novels of various genres.

The project provides example lessons plans that can be immediately implemented or adapted, including the necessary materials, and resources such as a rubric for evaluating the usefulness of graphic novels and a list of recommended graphic novels to use in order to help teachers navigate the potentially overwhelming world of comics and graphic novels. Each lesson integrates the skills of listening, speaking, reading, and writing in ways that support the lessons found in Japanese English textbooks used in Japan. The lessons also address grammar patterns from the textbook and introduce new vocabulary. Overall, graphic novels are authentic, engaging materials that can help Japanese students improve their English abilities and potentially improve motivation by giving them comprehensible input and a connection to their own popular culture.