The teacher who teaches French with comics. Her students create short films in the language of Voltaire

A young French teacher achieved remarkable results using comic book texts as teaching material. Her classes are interactive, and the children not only learn French, but also develop their imagination, which is already recognized at the festivals they participate in.

Bianca Darabă PHOTO

Bianca Darabă (25 years old), a French teacher at “Ștefan cel Mare” College in Târgu Neamţ (Neamţ), was designated a Merito teacher in 2023 for her innovative teaching methods and the results obtained with the students, although she is only two years in education.

Bianca confesses to “Weekend Adevărul” that she got her passion for the French language from a high school teacher: “I had a penchant for foreign languages, but without liking anything in particular. In high school I had an extraordinary French teacher, who was and still is my mentor”.

When he had to choose the college he would attend, he didn't think too much. He enrolled at the Faculty of Letters in Iasi, where he met Olivier Noël, a Belgian lecturer who changed his life. Back then, he organized comics workshops in French in schools.

“I really liked it and thought it would be great to show it to the other teachers, including the students,”
says Bianca.

Said and done: being a student, she started organizing similar workshops in Iasi and in several places in the country for both teachers and students.

Later, he launched an invitation to students from all over the country to send comic scripts, the only condition being that the protagonists are two classmates who go through different situations. The seven scenarios designated as winners focused on, for example, the election of the head of the class or how to resolve a situation in which a student is the victim of bullying.

Two artists from the University of Arts in Iasi created the comics for the winning scenarios, and the works were exhibited in Copou Park, to the delight of all passers-by. Another interesting project launched by Bianca together with Olivier Noël was the organization of comics workshops in the historic tram that runs through the center of Iași.

Tintin, French teacher

After her experience in college, she came up with the idea of ​​bringing the method of teaching comics to the classroom, which are now her favorite tools to teach French. He works with the students on the texts from the comics, but there are situations when he improvises with the children a text on the theme of that day's lesson.

“It depends a lot on the grade level I'm teaching. Usually the structure is the same, but the comics differ. For example, I have a collection of simpler comics, with little text, for students who are not doing very well,” the young teacher explains her method.

Bianca uses comics as a method of teaching French PHOTO

Bianca uses comics as a method of teaching French PHOTO

In the 5th grade he uses strips about “The Little Prince”, adapted to their age, while in the 6th grade he uses the graphic novel “Les cahiers d'Esther”, which follows, over the course of seven volumes, the story of a girl in Paris, from when he was 10 until he was 18.

Read the Tintin comics with the students, but also watch the cartoon. He gave the 11th grade students the task of creating comic book scenarios related to French-speaking countries.

“We have proposed for next year an optional called “Francophone comics”. It is a very good method of teaching French, and the children find it very interesting”, says Bianca.

He often even brings comic book creators to the classes to make them even more engaging for the students.

Photo novel in the language of Voltaire

After attending a course in Bulgaria, the French teacher returned to school with a new challenge for her students. Together, they made a photo novel for which the children from several classes imagined themselves in different scenarios, photographed themselves and thought up lines in French, and the teacher corrected them.

“The characters in the novel are actually the students, because the comics are, in fact, photographs of them. The texts are also written by them in French, on a topic that I give and which is related to the subject in each module”, Bianca explained.

At 25, Bianca is often confused with her students PHOTO

At 25, Bianca is often confused with her students PHOTO

In order to realize all these scenarios, the students went through Târgu Neamț, looked for props and stepped into the shoes of the characters. Afterwards, they worked in an online graphic design platform, which they will most likely need in college to create their presentations.

If she wins this project, the teacher wants to use the money to print the photo novel, use it as a teaching aid and make it available to other French language teachers.

Theater student and teacher

For a year, Bianca Darabă also taught French online to Amazon employees: “It was an extraordinary experience. I really enjoyed teaching them to adults”.

However, the desire to teach teenagers was stronger and made her ambitious to take the titular exam.

Over time, she also held the position of middle school and high school teachers when she was a college student, but even though she recently passed the tenure exam, she has yet to find a full-time position in the department.

“It's discouraging that from year to year you don't know where you're going to teach. You have to retake an exam that you have already passed with flying colours. I also gave my final exam, in which I got 10”, she says with regret in her voice.


In addition to comics, Bianca also uses theater in the classroom to show her students that French is useful in everyday life.

In order to do things as professionally as possible, she first went to school.

In 2022, he participated in an international festival in Poland for teachers, which promotes Francophone theater as a method of teaching the French language. “We were getting on stage and going through that stress to see what it meant to our students,” says Bianca.

She repeated the experience in 2023, in Bulgaria, and wants to bring the festival to Târgu Neamț in November 2024. Last year, she invited some of her French-speaking friends from France, Belgium, Spain and Armenia to online classes.

“I wanted my students to speak to them in French, to be something natural and interactive,” says the teacher.

She often asks her friends to record a video, and then works with it in class. It started from the idea that a language can be learned very easily if students see and hear native speakers and interact with them.

Awarded in a short film competition

Bianca Darabă participated with her students in 2022 in a short film festival organized by the French Alliance in Zagreb. There they split into two teams: the first made a short film about a stand-up show, and the other about the influence of technology on young people.

They wrote the lines together, Bianca recorded them on WhatsApp, and the students listened with the text in front of them to pronounce correctly. The whole school, as well as the students' families and friends, mobilized for the vote. In the end, they won the audience award, as they did in 2023.

Bianca with her students PHOTO personal archive

Bianca with her students PHOTO personal archive

“I have plans for the next five years with all the classes, I already know what projects I want us to participate in and where I want us to go. I think it's important to constantly vary the way we interact with children, because if routine sets in, we get a little stuck. I want my students to always be open and never refuse a foreign language, whatever it is, because it will definitely help them in the future,” is the challenge of French teacher Bianca Darabă for her students.