Teaching with Batman and Sherlock: Exploring student perceptions of leadership using fiction, comic books, and Jesuit ideals
Krusemark, Renee C.
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Employers seek college graduates with leadership skills, but studies indicate not all students graduate with leadership ability. Furthermore, an interdisciplinary perspective of leadership implies that leadership learning and ability can be achieved with a variety of methods. This study sought to understand how reading fiction, including comic books and traditional books, engages undergraduate student perceptions of leadership. A group (N = 17) of community college students first read a Batman comic book, The Long Halloween, and then read a traditional (no images) book, A Study in Scarlet, the first Sherlock Holmes story. Participant perceptions of leadership were collected using structured surveys. The study determined that participant perceptions of leadership in the comic book were formed similarly to perceptions of leadership in the traditional book, although slight differences were noted. The study’s findings suggest that (a) fiction can engage student perceptions of leadership and (b) comic books can provide educational readings similar to traditional (no images) books.