Apparently, it takes ~3 years from the birth of idea until it’s realization in real life. That’s how long it took us to come to the point, when we could finally organize a seminar on the topic of humor. The idea was born in 2014 and summer 2017 – ta-daaa, it happened!
From 25th until 31st of July 21 youth-workers, trainers and teachers gathered in Madarcos, Spain for a “collective frog killing festival”. (“Analyzing humor is like dissecting a frog – not many are interested and the frog dies in the end. /E.B.White/) Or in other words – seminar “Humor ME. The smallest distance.”. We wanted to discuss, play and discover the topic of humor in learning context – is it a competence and can humor be “taught”/improved? Does it support learning process and if yes – how, if not – why not? Who will have the longest bar-list at the end of the seminar?
Scientist Neil deGrasse Tyson has said, that “No one is dumb who is curious. The people who don’t ask questions remain clueless throughout their lives.” According to this we were pretty not-dumb – we’ve asked to ourselves and each other about 137 questions every day about and around the humor. For example, “Does humor creates connections? Or connections create humor?”, “Is humor something you’re born with or can it be developed?”, “What is humor? Is it funny to you?”, “Where are the borders of humor? Does telling jokes automatically provide humor?”, “Can it support the learning process?”, “Why it is actually important for us to discuss about it?”
You can see that we are very good with coming up with questions, but we also managed to reach some answers and conclusions. One of the basic conclusions – yes, humor CAN support learning (fireworks and huge applause!). It doesn’t always do so, but it CAN. It can support creating the atmosphere, build connections between participants and trainers, it can help dealing with stress, create and develop group culture, etc.
In the end we even came up with our own definition of humor – “Humor is a wrapping paper”. Meaning, that it is a way “how” to present information, lead activities, develop methods. Important thing is to know “Why?” we want to do something, what is the big aim and after we have found the answer to it, we can use humor to “wrap” the activities in a fun, exciting, laughter-filled way. Humor is a choice. Like many other things in this world.
In conclusion, we managed to kill and reanimate the frog several times through quite many challenging processes. At least for the team, this experience continues to resonate until this day.
We want to say “Thank you!” to all the participants, that devoted time and energy to be with us for almost a week in Madarcos and helped us to find questions and answers. The show must go on and now the next step will be implemented by them – in every country there will happen local actions to spread the results, message and love!
Stay tuned! More will follow!”