Creative humour: laughter to learning

Suresh Shrestha
sureshkrshrestha@gmail.com

Introduction

It is generally felt and agreed that a humour tickles away tensions and  is just like a panacea to the most frequent ailments caused by nonstop brain-racking jobs in today’s complex world. In Grenville Kleiser’s words, “a good humor is a tonic for mind and body. It is the best antidote for anxiety and depression. It is a business asset. It attracts and keeps friends. It lightens human burdens. It is the direct route to serenity and contentment.” Furthermore, when HUMOUR is defined with a CREATIVE flavour, it gives rise to the idea of something in some shape that we can see and share constructively to make our mental burden less severe, after all it is CREATIVE! Creative humours may appear in diverse faces simply aiming at how to drive away mental tiredness and launch a hilariously rejuvenating environment for better performance ahead, no matter what we are at. And, of course, teaching learning process cannot remain as an exception.

Laughter to Learning: MR or RM?

What has been mentioned above as a sub-topic is pseudo, yet it would signify what is being presented here, giving some jerk to our thought setting it in a motion. This is supposed to be an unfeigned intention, just to let our curiosity germinate and then to grow it up to a blooming creativity. As declared by Einstein “Creativity is contagious, pass it on”, it is being passed on here under the guise of MR versus RM.

To our simple understanding, MR is seemingly in sharp contrast to RM. To our curiosity, MR may stand for Medical Representative or Medical Research or something else we may feel comfortable with, and RM for Resource Management or Resource Manager or something different. Anyway, it is quite natural to seek the full forms of any abbreviated words – the preliminary step to creativity in or out of the classroom! To our amusing surprise, what about daring relate how at some angle of our perception the two short forms (MR and RM) could be justified similar or almost identical? It is interestingly puzzling, isn’t it? It is all right! Let us pick out the sense this way. There may be no doubt that a child is a true speaker. He or she tells the truth without corrupting it because a child’s mind is not impure with cunningness. And, he or she speaks out his or her mind straight. So, if a child from the community of the Arabic language, and just learning to recognize the English alphabets, is asked to read the combination M-R will certainly read it out as R-M, for the innocent child is accustomed to the right-to-left reading style in the Arabic language against the left-to-right reading style in English. That is why it would be justifiable to claim that MR is of course similar to RM, wouldn’t it?

Secondly, no matter what the phrases MR and RM may refer to, an attempt could be made to explain their full forms on the common ground so as to make them sound similar. And, they are: MR stands for Motivational Recharge and RM for Recharging Motivation. Yes, it is about time we felt the necessity to modify motivation in some interestingly creative way that is how it would be worth making a simple effort to demonstrate how a language teacher could spell the magic of Learn with Fun among  learners. This indicates that the abbreviated forms may be used as to strengthen vocabulary of learner.

Etymologically, creativity appears with different meanings such as ‘having the ability or power to create’, ‘productive’, ‘imaginative’, ‘designed to or tending to stimulate the imagination’, etc and, humour refers to ‘the quality of being funny’, ‘sense of humour the ability to appreciate or express that which is humorous’, ‘situations, speech, or writings that are thought to be humorous’ and so on. We cannot easily guess how broad the scope of CREATIVE HUMOUR is until and unless we are dehumanized. To be straight, it prevails in each and every field and is a must to get ourselves refreshed with or even to get our memory revitalized. In this regard, Grace McGartland, the founder and president of Thunderbolt Thinking, Inc. and the author of thinking management book, Thunderbolt Thinking: Electrifying Ideas for Building an Innovative Workplace ,has highlighted laughter as a creative tool at the meeting with humour. Since it occurs in almost all the fields, it may not only be hilarious but also offensive. It may sail from sex to soul. We cannot exactly say its types and number, yet what is obvious is that it appears with fun in the centre with thoughts and imaginations rippling away. Anyway, we could manage to present some types or categories of it, such as

• Slapstick: It is a type of humour in which the actors behave in a silly way just by throwing things at each other or falling over each other aiming to amuse the viewers.
• Sarcastic: A sarcastic humour is connected with sarcasm, i.e. what remarks the actors make mean the opposite of what they say and such remarks are made in order to hurt someone’s feelings or to criticize someone’s action in a very amusing style. Such humours appear as GAI JATRA in our country yearly as a satirical celebration.
• Witty: A witty humour contains words in a funny or clever way. Let me serve one witty humour that could be supposed to occur in HINDI among Indians. It goes this way:

A humorous husband  receives his wife;s phone call while he was going on a long drive. And, the talk goes this way:

Hubby: Hi sweetheart! So happy now. Enjoying a lot for over an hour.
Wife: Wow! What is going on? Where are you now?
Hubby: Well, well….. (He could not say that he was driving alone
because she had warned him not to)
Wife: what is the matter? Hiding something from me? Are you alone?
Hubby: (Thinking that he had been caught red-handed) No, no, dear! I
am here with one special…
Wife: One special? What do you mean? Is it he or she? (The question
came out of her mouth abruptly casting a doubt)
Hubby: (Answering abruptly) It is she. (In fact, car, i.e. GADI, in Hindi, is supposed to be feminine in gender)
Wife: What? You cheat! Come back soon. I will see at the court!

• Biting: A biting humour is made with critical words in a clever but unkind way. A strict teacher may make such a humour- a combination of pain and pleasure. For example:

A teacher who wants strictly disciplined students is teaching on and on causing students bored, then one of the students couldn’t stop saying-
Sir, it’s getting too long. Let’s leave drop it here.” The angry old man replied- “Keep holding lest I should drop you to the junior class.”

• Tongue-in-cheek: Tongue-in-cheek homours are amusing and may appear in some kind of advertisement.
• Obnoxious: An obnoxious humour is very unpleasant or rude. College ragging would be its good example. It may please the sufferer when he or she becomes a senior student and talks to other friends about it.
• Off-colour: Off-colour humours are linked with sex and they are slightly shocking.

Humours are sweet and also sour. But it is up to us how we make a right choice in the right situation and how we can change their offensiveness and indecency into softness and decency respectively. However, they are invaluably crucial to keep the audience upbeat  that removes boredom even after a long session. That is the real art that each and every speaker yearns to possess as their best asset. As a sorrowful matter, it does not seem to be so common in our educational contexts, except in certain conferences. But it is so popular and has established itself in the era of internet. We can use humours  to boost up our talent with better thinking and better speaking as it was it done in Creative Humour Writing Contest under HUMOR POWER conducted by John Kinde, a professional speaker and humour specialist from Las Vegas NV. There is no end of such a topic to write or speak about. But no doubt it is about time we made the most of it in the field of teaching and learning. We must have something special to share with each other to take our pedagogical campaign ahead to a majestic attainment, but we should not forget that we should share the ideas and techniques available and we must be serious about creating our own materials as creative humours. There are countless events and evidences scattered around us; we simply need to understand them, collect them systematically and relay them to others.  I am just placing something I have come across as a learning with creative humour as a technique to motivate learners to better vocabulary command. It is all about our self-made abbreviated forms that could be used to help learners to do some brainstorming. It is as follows:

Create your Combinations!

Give your own full forms (phrases and / or sentences) to
the following short forms made with the initials:

AB; ABC; ABCD; PQ; PQR.

(The possible answers would be: AB=Angry Boys; ABC= A Bad Carpenter; ABCD= Angelina’s Babies Coo Daily; PQ= Private Quarter; PQR=Poor Queens’ Regrets)

Conclusion

To laugh is an art and to make people laugh is a bigger art. Humour is naturally a well-perceived social phenomenon that may prove to be an infallible weapon to combat negative emotions, and a good dose to make the listeners or audience feel relaxed keeping depression at bay. Humour is our inborn quality. Whenever it is creative, it adds an additional flavour to something which is already tasty. Moreover, when it comes to language teaching and learning, it becomes a valuable  tool so as to establish a natural and joyful classroom environment for a meaningful learning. This, of course,  maximizes educational activities as a bridge between positive emotions and learning. It will no doubt open all our feelings to strengthen our socio-cultural understandings and ties in the classroom. Sometimes to some students, humours may turn to be dreadful because of lack of self-confidence, difficulty in perceiving the materials in a proper way or previous negative experience in the certain contexts. Yet, a  well-chosen humour in the classroom at the right time could foster mutual openness,  and respect and make a considerable contribution to the effectiveness of overall teaching of English. And, humours are made with the help of actions and/ or words. If we take a solid action in a body, and make our words bold for its pedagogical implementation, maybe as a part of course, language and literature will no longer have to remain confined to a subject just to pass an  exam or secure higher marks, and will turn to be a lively support to our everyday living. So, it would not go in vain if there is a hearty request to share creative humours for our healthy and happy society governed by heart-to-heart communication. We, teachers of English, can initiate first?

References:

Eckert, Bob. Creative Growth through Innovation. Available online at http://www.creativity-portal.com/articles/bob-eckert/
Mcgartland, Grace. Meeting with Humor: Laughter is a creative tool. Aiabale online at http://www.thunderboltthinking.com/humor.htm
Some use links

http://www.humorpower.com
http://www.quotationpage.com
http://www.uncommon-knowledge.co.uk

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One Response to Creative humour: laughter to learning

  1. Praveen says:

    Thank You Suresh jee for your creativeness to write such a creative article. I hope you would keep it up. This is a nice initiative taken by NELTA Members outside the valley.

    I have gone through your write-up and the Choutari of February Issue thoroughly. This one is special with creative writing section. Laughter is the best medicine, as this is a very popular quotation. We need to create laughter in our language classroom but our laughter should be in English. This does not only help us feel relax but also remove the monotonous situation of the classroom. Such a practice can make the learners’ knowledge sustainable.

    As we know some students feel boredom in the classroom due to boring lectures delivered by boring teachers. Creating laughter in the classroom makes us and our teaching popular among learners. Therefore, we need to encourage ourselves as well as our learners to engage in creative writing since only such type of writing can do the interesting job.

    Praveen Kumar Yadav
    Rautahat

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