Advantages and Challenges of Teaching Graphic Novels in English Classrooms: A Systematic Review


  • Nurul Natasha Nor Aziz
  • Azlina Abdul Aziz


Graphic Novels, Visual Literacy, Advantages of Graphic Novels, Challenges of Graphic Novels, ESL/EFL


Graphic novels are a multimodal format that is growing in popularity, and they are increasingly being used as part of the literature curriculum in schools around the world. However, for a variety of reasons, graphic novels continue to be met with scepticism, and many instructors are hesitant to include them into their classrooms. This paper presents a systematic literature review of 18 relevant published research on the teaching of graphic novels in the English classrooms (English as a Second Language [ESL] and English as a Foreign Language [EFL] contexts) around the world for the past decade from the year 2012 to 2022. The findings highlight the advantages and the challenges of the teaching of graphic novels in English classrooms. Results revealed that there are five advantages of teaching the multimodal medium in the English classes which are; improved comprehension, boost reading motivation, enhance critical thinking skills, increased vocabulary acquisition and improved English-speaking proficiency. The review's findings also show that there are three key challenges in teaching graphic novels; lack of visual literacy among students and teachers, lack of instructional strategies and scepticism towards graphic novels. Furthermore, it was also discovered that the visual element of graphic novels which contribute to the primary benefits, is also the one that presents the greatest challenge. The limitations of past studies and recommendations for future research were also discussed.