TO Pedro Cifuentes always liked comics. When he was dedicated to graphic design he did not stray far from the subject and, 10 years ago, after passing the exams as a Secondary teacher he began to think about how to use comics as a tool to facilitate learning. He conceived the project to use the full potential of the vignettes as educational toola in the teaching of art history. The author promoted his idea in the publishing field, but the answer he got from the most specialized labels in education was not very encouraging: "Too much comic", they said. And the publishers of the genre considered it "too didactic".
So this professor of Social Sciences Miquel Peris i Segarra Center of Castellón decided to bet on self-publishing with the help of crowdfunding. "He asked for 4,000 euros in 40 days in Verkami to guarantee printing costs and in 48 hours the figure tripled. The reduced edition of 250 copies for teachers that I had thought was transformed into one of 1,500 copies that today is completely exhausted ".
The first volume of History of art in comics. The classic world, dedicated to Rome and Greece, it came out in May of last year and was an immediate and unexpected success. Its dissemination through social networks was also key. "I have been asked for the book from countries such as Argentina or Chile," says this 43-year-old Burriana professor, National Award for Education for Development 2010 and author of webcomics Masquemascotas Y In class it is not drawn.
It was so successful that it caught the attention of the Desperta Ferro publishing house. This stamp, specialized in history issues, will edit again the first volume of the work of Cifuentes, which consists of a hundred pages, next May and has commissioned five more to complete the history of art to the present. The comic is led by a teacher who teaches five or six students who travel through ancient art thanks to the magic of the vignettes. They pass from one to another, from the ruins to the splendor of an ancient Roman coliseum, for example. The comic and the didactic material are thought fundamentally for students of First and Second of ESO, from 11 to 13 years.
Value the heritage
"The comic allows you to fabulate a lot with the imagination and also facilitates the teaching of art in Secondary. By the way, it is not acceptable that, in the whole curriculum, the art subject is only present in the second year of Bachillerato. In Social, we see how kids have a hard time getting into art, but comics facilitate everything. It helps them to value their heritage and to learn at the same time they enjoy ", says the professor, author of both the drawings and the script.
The idea of the practical application of the comic to teaching occurred to him while the examinations were being prepared. "I realized that I did not have a blackboard but some vignettes when I studied the didactic units. So it can be said that I have crystallized the project for 10 years, "he explains. His project is also studied in the Cátedra dedicated to comics that, directed by the critic Álvaro Pons, has just launched the Universitat de València in collaboration with the SM Foundation.
The author makes a vehement defense of the comic as an educational tool: "I write everything with comics. Students expose their subjects through drawings and comics and must also defend them orally, which is why they work hard on orality and creativity. They themselves have to develop their comic books, with an interactive work. They show a lot of interest in everything that has to do with the image. It must be remembered that 80% of the stimuli a student receives is visual. It's funny, the generation that writes and reads the whole day with WhatsApp has a hard time getting into a novel and even into comics, many times until they discover it ".
His teaching has focused mainly on 1st of ESO, circumscribed to the field of Social Sciences, to History of Art, specifically, although he has also used it in Geography. "But if things work well, the future is to open this dynamic to other subjects. The language of the comic and its creativity facilitate teaching and increase the interest of the student, "says Cifuentes.