Manga inspires University Heroes

by Saul Nassé, 20 December 2015
Saul Nassé is inspired by a creative approach to language learning at The University of Sydney, which sees students become Manga comic book heroes. 

On a recent trip to Australia I came across a unique teaching approach inspired by Manga comics. 

I was in the country to visit our long term partner Christine Bundesen from the University of Queensland in Brisbane as well as our team in Melbourne who produce the Occupational English Test, which we deliver in collaboration with Boxhill. 

Uni heroes professorA person I was particularly interested to meet was Patrick Pheasant (pictured), with who is the director of the Centre of English Teaching at the University of Sydney. Patrick is running a digital English project called University Heroes. Using graphic art and manga comics, his students co-create their own superhero adventures, combating 'global monsters' with the power of education and knowledge. Each student has their own avatar and they create digital comic books which read as terrific character based stories but are actually all about learning English.  

Uni heroes characters 
The project enjoyed a colourful launch event earlier this year, with Chinese lions, Latin dancers and VIP guests, who were keen to get some hands-on experience of the University Heroes app. The University of Sydney's website shares the story of real life hero David (pictured above at the launch event and in character), who gave a rousing speech at the launch, saying that in the past he thought of a hero as ‘someone who comes back from war with medals,’ but after seeing the power of university study in shaping his own destiny, he now realises a hero can ‘inspire through education’. 

Saul fligth divert - imageI was really inspired by this modern, imaginative approach to language teaching, and I felt I might need my own superhero avatar to survive an oncoming storm on my flight home. Luckily no Lycra was required as the pilot artfully avoided the meteorological action (pictured right). 

Learn more about University Heroes. 

Saul Nassé 
Group Chief Executive, Cambridge Assessment

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