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Min J. Kim

Inviting Everyday Life into the Art Classroom:
More Meaningful Art Lessons Through Analyzing Manga in the Classroom

          I like art. I like to make art. I like to express myself with my artworks. I think the images and artwork that I create are powerful. They contain my internal emotions, external emotions, culture, and history. As a child, even though art was everything in my life, I wasn’t a wonderful art student. The class projects weren’t that interesting to me, and I was the last one to turn in the assignments.

            My personal objective in education is to share the joy of learning with my students and help them believe and understand the values and possibilities of art and its practices. Also, I want to guide each student to find their own self-concepts through art-making practices, and guide me by way of viewing myself through the eyes of a student. I think the most interesting and important thing in teaching and learning activities is the way relationships are built between teachers and students, students and students, and teachers and teachers. Also, setting goals in teaching and learning activities creates meaningful and healthy relationships. To reach these goals, students as well as teachers need to understand the power of education. They must find and feel the joy of gaining new knowledge and realize there is a way that they can adapt this knowledge into their own lives.

            To make students lives more meaningful through learning processes, it is important to make them want to learn. Based on my own experience and classroom observations, I found that most of the current classroom materials were not relevant to the lives of the students. To continue my last semester’s research topic, I would like to introduce manga (comics) into art education. Since manga has become so powerful and universal to many students’ every day lives, it will be a very effective way to make school and classes more inviting to students.

            Manga is a form of popular culture that contains various messages. It is true that applying manga in the classroom might have some risks because the messages that manga contains might be offensive to some students. (Some manga deal with adult themes of love and violence.) However, a classroom curriculum that reveals critical viewpoints of society and pop culture would benefit from using manga in classroom situations. Through my research, I want to explore proper and effective methods and collect data in order to find ways of connecting manga and students’ lives, and so students can find themselves through the process of learning and sharing. BIOGRAPHY

           Min J. Kim received her BFA in Graphic Design and Art History from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2000. While working as a web and image designer, she had the opportunity to work on many different children’s educational sites such as Underground Adventure from the Museum of Science and Industry and Bubble Tape.


Thesis Advisor: Therese Quinn Assistant Professor, Art Education Associate Director, Center for Youth and Society, University of Illinois-Chicago

Thesis Reader: Kevin Tavin Assistant Professor, Art Education; Director, MAT Program

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