Thursday, August 12, 2010

He Who Laughs Learns

School starts in a few weeks, so I’ve been weeding through books, study guides, DVDs, and online articles for supplemental material with which to spruce up my lectures. One resource, which unfortunately I won’t be able to use this semester, is The Cartoon Introduction to Economics, Volume One: Microeconomics, co-authored by a man who calls himself the Stand-Up Economist. Although my initial reaction was, You’ve got to be kidding, I came to like this comic book because, besides being funny, it’s thorough.

Taking after my mom, I’ll use anything short of a song and dance routine to successfully communicate with my students. However, I’ve found most comic strips (concepts overly simplified) and blog posts (content too advanced or partisan) seriously lacking. It’s unfortunate that, from a student’s perspective, humor in academia is divided into two parts: that which seems irrelevant or only indirectly related to the lecture topic (laughs for the sake of waking up the class) and that which only those who pass the class understand (inside jokes). I hope to show my students that what they’re learning itself can be entertaining because I honestly believe that will help them retain the information longterm. But resources are definitely slim pickings.