Teaching With Humor

Espabilao, the latest offering from the Quimbumbia team

I had a long discussion with a friend about the genius or lack of same of a certain political personage. He insisted that the power to quote extensive passages of text and to remember dates and the names of historic figures, was evidence of his brilliance. But, I pointed out to him, I’ve never heard him make a joke, nor deliver a well constructed irony. He lacks humor, I concluded, and humor is evidence that a person has a superior intellect. I have always believed that bringing a smile to others is more difficult than generating fanaticism in a multitude. Not only in the case of public figures, but also in education. To teach in a fun way can foster better connections with students. We tend to remember better what we have learned while entertained, versus through weary predictability.

This is the case with the knowledge of computer security that comes to us through the new videogame game Espabilao. Quimbumbia, its group of Cuban developers, has made this incredibly instructive amusement available to the citizens of the Island. It is the story of Pix, a robot, who must protect the personal data that his naive owner, Ale, has left scattered around the Internet. The protagonist’s tasks focus on improving the strength of passwords, detecting, in time, websites that could capture private information, and eliminating navigational hazards. A story told with humor and cleverness, but also with years of knowledge accumulated by internauts, digital activists and cyberspace users. Learning through cunning and seemingly playful challenges, but deriving much needed and serious results.

After coming to know the Quimbumbia project and Espabilao, its latest offering, I now have another element to convince my skeptical friend. “You see,” I will tell him, “sharpness doesn’t have to be so boringly serious, nor does teaching have to make you want to yawn.” Probably he will carry on with his examples of pompous orators and statistics that overwhelm the statisticians. I, however, prefer the approach practiced by Pix… the laughter that accompanies it teaches us and leaves what we learn indelibly etched in our memory. Humor, I continue to believe, is the most complete display of human genius… which is why the mediocre and the authoritarian are so bad at it.

The post Enseñar con humor appeared first on Generación Y – Yoani Sánchez.

26 November 2013

68 thoughts on “Teaching With Humor

  1. CAN ANYONE SPEAK ENGLISH WITH CUBAN ACCENT?

    I would like to suggest a following test:

    1. Shave
    2. Put a suit and an tie
    3. Stick Che Guevara emblem on your jacket
    4. Go to any bank in the US
    5. Say: “I represent cuban consulate in the United States. We would like to open an account with you. US government say we are sponsoring terrorism, but the State Department will protect you from prosecution for dealing with terrorists”.
    6. Wait for their answer.
    7. Publish it here.

  2. THE DAILY CALLER: ‘Hard Rock Havana’: Could heavy metal music change Cuba? – by Matt K. Lewis
    In eulogizing the great 20th century Czech revolutionary and playwright, Rolling Stone observed: “It took a Czechoslovakian rock band that worshipped Frank Zappa and the Velvet Underground to make Vaclav Havel realize the true power of rebellion.” Could music help usher in a a similar “Velvet Revolution” some 90 miles south of Miami? According to Nicholas Brennan, director of a forthcoming documentary Hard Rock Havana, a thriving heavy metal scene has created an outlet for rebellion and free expression. While the U.S. government funds Radio Marti as part of an overt attempt to undermine the Castro regime, the best propaganda often isn’t propaganda at all. A prime example of this, Brennan told me, comes from Diony Arce, the lead singer of the Zeus (the most legendary metal band in Cuba) who is profiled in the film.
    When Arce was a kid, Brennan explains, he would walk on the beach to the northern most point in Havana “holding a radio up into the air to try to get the reception from Miami — where he was hearing these sounds that they’d never heard before — you know, Metallica, Pantera, coming through the radio signals from Miami.” Could rock music be one of America’s great exports? To paraphrase Daniel Patrick Moynihan, politics might literally be (90 miles) downstream from culture. “The big question,” Brennan says, “is what creates a space for an actual change?” And in that regard, he credits “the arts and cultural world,” noting that “the intellectuals are creating a space to have that conversation on the island.” Brennan believes that in Cuba, heavy metal is about more than just blowing off some steam. ”These are some of Cuba’s loudest citizens,” he says.
    http://dailycaller.com/2013/12/06/hard-rock-havana-could-heavy-metal-music-change-cuba/

  3. Castro makes Rob Ford look like a teetotaler. I’m sure the banking “issue” is related to one of Castro’s benders.

    But would Castro’s sycophants dare suggest he get help? Would Granma report on his alcohol problem?

    Thank god Kruschev never gave Castro the nuclear launch codes.

  4. What a bunch of gangsters and liars. There is no banking issue.

    I guess they expect some US federal civil servants to go into every bank in Washington, determine the best deal for the Cubans, report back to the Cuban embassy, and then beg the Cubans to accept their business.

    As mentioned, the Cuban consul did not close, they are still open for business for their “friends”, so they could do it for everyone if they wanted to.

    Who knows what ridiculous conditions Castro is imposing on Washington that are not being reported in the press.

  5. BAD USA! BAD USAID! WHEN THEY HELP CUBAN DISSIDENTS AND THE CUBAN PEOPLE??
    BUT GOOD USAID WHEN THEY HELP SEAN PENN AND THE HAITIAN PEOPLE?? SPLAIN IT TO ME PLEASE Marabu, Nick??

    MOTHER JONES: Haiti Dispatch: Inside Sean Penn’s Tent City – by Mac McClelland

    Inside Daniel’s place, as it exists for now, the only source of light is a flashlight aimed at the grey tarp overhead. The dim beam illuminates the USAID logo printed on it—which announces the gift as FROM THE AMERICAN PEOPLE—but little else. While I wait for my eyes to adjust to the darkness, a child materializes at my left thigh.
    Daniel says that “Sean’s not here right now”—he’s off filming a movie—and talks about how the actor and American Army set up in this camp after the quake. He helped run errands for the soldiers. He helped deliver babies. He did whatever he could to aid the aiders. But the Army is gone, and Daniel’s friends who work in the camp say much of the rest of the aid organizations are leaving, too. (Update: Sean Penn has written me to emphasize that he and J/P Haitian Relief Organization are committed to their work in Haiti for the long term.) “Already, it’s been five months since we’ve gotten any food,” he says. But they do have water in the camp now; you can fill up buckets at pumps. It used to make him really sick, and sometimes the bleach taste is quite strong. Sometimes they still wake up with knots in their stomachs. There’s water that’s safer to drink, but that’s only for sale.
    http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2010/10/haiti-sean-penn-camp

  6. THE CASTROFASCISTS THROWING A “PERRETA” (tantrum) AS AN EXTORTION PLOY FORCE THE US TO CHANGE ITS POLICY ABOUT INCLUDING CUBA IN THE LIST OF TERRORIST STATES! REMEMBER THE KOREAN SHIP AND ITS ILLEGAL ARMS SALE BY CUBA TO NORTH KOREA?
    MIAMI HERALD: Cuba consular problem in Washington may cause ripples for US diplomats in Havana – by Juan Tamayo

    Cuban diplomats in Washington have said they will wait for a fix to their banking roadblock, but hinted that the U.S. diplomatic mission in Havana could suffer the consequences if the problem continues, according to Cuba travel company employees.

    The diplomats met with the employees Wednesday to brief them on the situation after they stopped all consular services last week following the M&T Bank’s decision to close the Cuban consulate’s account.

    Halting the visa and passport applications created a crisis in the Cuba travel industry because the travel agencies, virtually all of them based in Miami, were preparing for the heavy travel period during the year-end holidays.

    Two employees of Miami travel companies who attended the briefing, held at the Cuban diplomatic mission in Washington, said the diplomats indicated they are not interested in a temporary or complicated workaround to the banking issue.

    Cash will not be accepted for the visas and passports, the employees said. And there’s no agreement on allowing visitors on so-called people-to-people trips to pay for their $80 visas on arrival in Havana, instead of in Washington.

    The diplomats indicated that the Cuban government will wait “a prudent” period for a solution, but that if nothing happens after that the U.S. mission in Havana may be affected, the employees said, asking for anonymity because the briefing was private.

    The Cubans gave no details but noted that an agreement between Washington and Havana requires each side to provide the other with the same facilities for their diplomatic missions, the employees added.

    Cuban diplomats in Washington have privately said that the money from the consular fees pays their salaries and even their mission’s light bills, hinting that with consular services halted the mission may have to shut its doors.

    “If the (Cuban) Interests Section cannot pay its bills, it might have to shut down, and then the U.S. Interests Section may have to shut down,” said one of the employees. “And all that would take Cuba-US relations back 20 years.”

    CLICK LINK FOR ENTIRE ARTICLE!
    http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/12/06/3800002/cuba-consular-problem-in-washington.html

  7. Alan Gross worked for the same people that Sean Penn works for.

    USAID supports Sean Penn’s humanitarian efforts in Haiti and he has received a lot more money from them.

    Is Sean Penn a bigger CIA agent than Alan Gross?

    If Sean Penn was imprisoned for helping Haiti’s homeless, would Nick call him a hapless fool?

  8. Alan Gross’ terrible crime was hooking up some Cubans to the internet and showing them pictures of Jerusalem.

    Now that is terrible.

    The heroic Cuban 5 anti-terrorists conspired to blow up civilians.

    Now that is heroic.

  9. Interesting that Mandela killed a lot more civilians in terrorist attacks than Posada Carriles.

    So I guess Posada Carriles should be forgiven too. A congressional medal?

    Interesting that Mandela also supported a large-scale embargo of South Africa. As did Castro.

    But that Castro’s sycophants think there is something terrible with the very small and ineffective US embargo of Cuba.

  10. RIP Mr Mandela.
    A man who, amongst other things, knew the art of forgiveness.
    From his release from jail to his parting from this world the only place he was ever made to feel unwelcome was Miami…
    Now why would that be??
    Yet another shameful example of the a small but influential group of Miami Cubans being out of step with the rest of the world…

  11. HI HUMBY!!
    Your opinion of this Gross person seems to differ from that of Tracey Eaton whose articles you are so fond of pasting.
    You state that The so called ‘Cuban Five’ are spies but that Gross is not.
    On this I would not wholly disagree.
    Indeed there are many differences between the two cases.

    To my understanding the Cubans that are presently in jail in USA were on a mission to infiltrate deadly anti-Cuban terrorist groups operating with impunity in USA.
    Since their mission there have been no further terrorist attacks on Cuba from US based groups.

    Whereas Gross was on a mission to…..??
    On a mission to use up some of taxpayers the money that USA allocates towards futile attempts at regime change in Cuba ???
    All these attempts at regime change from the ridiculous half-assed effort at invasion at Playa Giron/Bay of Pigs, countless lame-assed attempts at assassination, the training up of terrorist operators, the many examples of sabotage, the smutty little embargo, Helms Burton, etc etc have all resulted in complete and utter,100%, miserable, abject failure.

    Alan Gross is just caught up in yet another example of this litany of ineptitude which has cost gazillions of US taxpayers money and all for nothing more than that juicy little cluster of Florida electoral college votes.

    As I have stated many times, I personally think Cuba should let the greedy little Gross fool go on humanitarian grounds and kick his sad old butt all the way back to the USA.

    In the meantime, I hope he likes rice and beans……

  12. FINALLY THE CASTROFASCISTS “PUSIERON EL HUEVO” THEY FINALLY EXPOSED THEIR EXTORTION PLOY! BUT ONE SMALL THING! ALAN GROSS IS NOT A SPY NOR WAS HE CONVICTED OF SUCH A THING!

    NBC NEWS: Cuba won’t budge on jailed American contractor, insists on prisoner swap – by Mary Murray

    Cuba’s government on Wednesday continued to tie the fate of an American contractor jailed there for four years to the release of four Cuban spies imprisoned in the U.S. since 1998.

    Responding to renewed calls for Havana to free 64-year-old American contractor Alan Gross, Director General of Cuba’s Foreign Ministry, Josefina Vidal Ferreiro, said in a statement that the government is open to negotiations for a swap of prisoners.

    “The Cuban government reiterates its readiness to immediately establish a dialogue with the United States government to find a solution to the case of Mr. Gross on a reciprocal basis, and which addresses the humanitarian concerns of Cuba relating to the case of the four Cuban anti-terrorist fighters in prison in the United States,” she said.

    Ferreiro was referring to four remaining members of the “Cuban Five” held in U.S. prisons after being convicted of conspiracy to commit espionage and other charges in 1998. The prisoners — Gerardo Hernández, Ramón Labañino, Antonio Guerrero and Fernando González — are national heroes in Cuba, and the governments of Raul Castro and Fidel Castro before him have made winning their freedom a priority. The fifth member of the group, René González, was released in October 2011 and subsequently returned to Cuba.

    CLICK LINK FOR ENTIRE ARTICLE!

    http://investigations.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/12/04/21759843-cuba-wont-budge-on-jailed-american-contractor-insists-on-prisoner-swap

  13. CUBAN VIDEO: “DANGEROUS” – MEET CUBAN DISSIDENTS, BROTHERS Jose Daniel & Luis Enrique Ferrer! – by Tracey Eaton
    JOSE DANIEL FERRER GARCIA (born c. 1971) is a fisherman and Cuban dissident from Santiago de Cuba.[1] A member of the Christian Liberation Movement (MCL) founded by Oswaldo Payá, he participated in collecting signatures for the Varela Project, in which 25,000 signatories petitioned the Cuban government to guarantee freedom of speech and freedom of assembly as well as institute a multi-party democracy.[2]
    Ferrer was detained during the subsequent Black Spring crackdown of March 2003 and sentenced to 25 years’ imprisonment. His brother Luis Enrique Ferrer García, also an MCL activist, was sentenced to 28 years. In May 2003, José Daniel began a hunger strike after he was allegedly refused medical treatment for an intestinal issue. He was also subjected to punishment cells for refusing to stand in the presence of military or prison guards. The prison cells are reportedly and habitually below the international standard and the Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners.[3] Amnesty International declared both Ferrer brothers to be prisoners of conscience.[3] US President Barack Obama called for Ferrer’s release in 2009, urging the Cuban government to allow him to “fully participate in a democratic future in Cuba.”[4] Ferrer remained in prison until 2011.[5] He and Félix Navarro Rodríguez were released on 23 March 2011 as part of an agreement between the Cuban government and the Catholic Church. They were the last two prisoners of the Black Spring to be released. Ferrer refused the option to emigrate to Spain, stating, “I want to see a free people, and the best place to fight is here inside. Ferrer was detained again in April 2012 for “public disorder”, and again for two days in August 2012 for his work with Unión Patriótica de Cuba (UNPACU). Amnesty International described the arrests as part of “a pattern of harassment by the Cuban authorities against UNPACU members and other political dissidents.”[6]

    LUIS ENRIQUE FERRER GARCIA is a Cuban dissident. He is married and has a daughter and a son. He was arrested during the Black Spring in 2003 and received a 28-year sentence for his work with the Varela project, a civic initiative calling for democratic reforms in Cuba. Upon leaving the courtroom, a member of the mob struck Luis Enrique Ferrer García with a hammer, and his mother and sister were violently thrown to the ground.[1] To protest his unjust imprisonment, especially severe prison conditions and mistreatment by prison authorities, Ferrer García has engaged in numerous hunger strikes throughout his detention, often leaving him very ill and weak. He was the victim of numerous physical assaults by security guards and violent prisoners. According to Human Rights First, attacks are believed to be encouraged by prison authorities to harass and intimidate him.[1] Ferrer Garcia was freed in November 2010 and exiled with his family.[2]Garcia is the official representative of the Cuban Patriotic Union UNPACU outside of Cuba, the same organization that Wilmar Villar Mendoza belonged to. His brother, Jose Daniel Ferrer Garcia is the founder and official representative of UNPACU inside the island[3][4]

  14. Getting back to comics:

    Maduro, the fascist dictator of Venezuela and close friend of right-wing fascist dictator Castro, has blamed right-wing fascists with causing Venezuela’s big blackout.

    Funny that his police state never catches any of these saboteurs, and that blackouts are increasingly frequent as socialism is perfected.

    I suppose the right-wing was also behind the big North American blackout a few years ago. You never know with these right-wing types.

    I think Maduro is a better act than Rob Ford. Better even than Chavez.

  15. An article worth reading, about deforestation and the role of FARC and Venezuela’s government, just voted the most corrupt in South America again by Transparency International (a left-leaning organization)

    http://uk.reuters.com/article/2013/12/03/us-venezuela-amazon-idUKBRE9B205S20131203

    FARC is still supported by Cuba. When the “friends of Cuba” send millions of dollars and medical aid to Cuba, part of that money and aid goes to FARC and other terrorist organizations.

  16. Oh yah, I forgot about Nick’s swine flu conspiracies, the product of a balanced mind.

    I understand the recent rains in Cuba were also caused by the CIA.

    And of course the collapsing buildings in Havana just gotta be part of a CIA plot.

  17. Nick has no personal or political agenda.

    The guy can also see reality quite well, like calling Cuba a democracy, calling the Ladies in White mercenaries, and calling Alan Gross a fool.

    What a maroon. Or as Stalin used to say, “what a useful idiot, give him a medal”.

  18. CHECK OUT THIS GREAT (and very balanced) ARTICLE ABOUT THE HAPLESS FOOL, ALAN GROSS! READ TILL THE END BECAUSE THERE IS HOPE THAT CONTRIBUTORS HERE WILL ONE DAY STOP ALLOWING THEIR OWN PERSONAL/POLITICAL AGENDAS TO OBSCURE REALITY! THANKS TRACEY EATON!
    http://www.havanatimes.org/?p=100357

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