The use of political cartoons in the EFL/ESL classroom: Learning English and enhancing critical thinking in the context of Saudi Arabia

Publication Date


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT)

First Advisor

Susan Barduhn


This essay will explore the use of political cartoons in the EFL/ESL classroom with a concentration in the Saudi context. In doing so, I will demonstrate how political cartoons are effective in learning the English language in communication courses and how they can produce genuine lessons in grammar for both upper and lower level reading and writing courses. In doing so, this genre allows the students to be fully engaged in texts and exercises as well as learning about events happening in the world around them.

Starting from the lower level courses, students at Al Yamamah University are required to begin reading and comprehending authentic text including news related articles. However, many students are seemingly unaware of not only international news but news happening in their own society. This in turn, contributes to why so many of these students and students in general in Saudi
Arabia may not be accustomed to critical thinking and lack the desire to learn about major events happening in the world inside and outside of their Kingdom. This essay will show how using political cartoons in the classroom helps to bridge this gap and how this genre has enhanced and produced a better learning environment and in turn, has helped students become more engaged in the learning of the English language.

For the convenience of any teacher who wishes to use political cartoons in the classroom, I have included three authentic lesson plans in the appendix that detail the steps I took. Of course, they can be altered to suit another classroom environment or context.


Teacher Education and Professional Development

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