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Gerardo Castillo Ceballos, , Professor Emeritus of the School of Education and Psychology of the University of Navarra.

financial aid reading comics in learning creativity?

The current scientific and technical progress entails a permanent change that calls for learning creativity.

Wed, 13 Jan 2016 10:57:00 +0000 Published in El Confidencial Digital

Today, it is essential to acquire innovative attitudes. But there is a difficulty mentioned by both Paul Guilford and Ken Robinson: our school systems stifle creativity because they are centered on convergent thinking, which is limited to reproducing the information received.

For Ricardo Marin, "the whole Education has to prepare in some way for the emergence of creativity as a dimension of the personality that can no longer be undervalued, given the exercise to which it will be subjected without rest. It is not only that the system has to constantly renew itself; the decisive thing is that it has to contemplate in each subject his creative facet, to discover and cultivate it" (Principles of contemporary Education , 1972).

True learning has always been creative, but today it is all the more so. The term "creativity" arose on the occasion of a 1950 lecture by Guilford for the American Psychological Society.

Creativity is the ability to generate new ideas or associations of ideas to produce original solutions. It is synonymous with constructive imagination, original thinking and divergent thinking. Creative people are able to solve vital problems in an imaginative way, with flexibility of thought and fluency of ideas.

Both to develop creativity and to evaluate it, procedures such as the following are usually applied:

Spontaneous theatrical stagings; ambiguous representations in which hidden figures have to be discovered; elaborating original figures by completing schematic graphics; constructing sentences from some words; writing synonyms of a word; improving the product: indicating everything that could be done with an object; facing unusual situations: for example, guessing what would happen if the water in the seas disappeared; writing imaginative stories.

An attractive way to face the challenge of learning creativity is to use as a didactic resource reading humorous texts. Funny situations help us to perceive the variety of possibilities to solve a problem. In humor we play with ideas in a creative way. Humor and creativity follow identical paths, but different from the one followed by logical thinking. Humor is a manifestation of intelligence and ingenuity. Creativity is intelligence having fun. And laughter has been considered as a switch of cognitive or rational thinking that gives way to flexible thinking. The joke, like creativity, is based on connecting two apparently unconnected ideas.

One of the most recommended readings for the development of creativity is the comics. This name comes from the great diffusion of the first of them, the TBO, the famous magazine with comic strips founded in 1917 and published until 1998. The magazine took root in popular culture and language, with expressions such as "it's more seen than the comic strip". One of its sections, "Los grandes inventos del TBO" (The great inventions of TBO) has been highly valued for its combination of humor and design industrial. These "inventions" expressed imaginative solutions to everyday problems.

One of the draftsmen of these "inventions" was Ramón Sabatés, with his famous character "Professor Franz of Copenhagen". He created more than a thousand "inventions" using mechanical elements: pulleys, ropes, chains, pedals, plungers, gears, springs, batteries and steam (no electronics, yet to be invented). Among the most celebrated were the following: the anti-hair device so that bearded people could eat their soup; the procedure to avoid queues; the cigarette butts hunting stick; the instrument against stray dogs; the guillotine machine to cut the tip of cigars; the effective anti-mosquito device that does not kill them, but only intoxicates them and makes them dizzy, so that they lose the desire to bother them again.

Sabatés maintained with irony that all his inventions could be built, but only some of his crazy ideas became reality.

Among the many favorable testimonials from his former readers are the following two:

-The TBO inventions were great, both in drawing and imagination".

-I used to read the TBO inventions because they were pure exercise of creative imagination. They taught you to look for solutions to any problem, regardless of its realization internship or its economic profitability. You felt the joy of the freedom of mental creation. Infinite thanks to TBO".

In some schools, recreational reading is already being introduced (stories, short comedies, fables, riddles, comics, etc.) followed by workshop activities to stimulate divergent thinking. This experience requires innovative teachers and the creation of a creative environment.