The origins of entertainment education - a book chapter by Miguel Sabido

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Published on July 24, 2014

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Notes from "Entertainment Education and Social Change", by Singhal, Cody, Rogers and Sabido.

The origins of Entertainment-Education Miguel Sabido

Introduction • The basic idea of entertainment-education was developed by Miguel Sabido by integrating his theory with theoretical elements adapted from Bandura, Bentley, Jung and MacLean. • Originally called “entertainment with proven social benefit”, “entertainment education” is a concept used around the world. • What makes Sabido-style programs different from other forms of entertainment-education hinges on combining two key factors: (1) use of the serial drama format; and (2) rigorous adherence to well-established communication theories underlying the methodology. Whereas most entertainment-education programs are devoted to sending messages, the Sabido methodology uses characters as vicarious role models to demonstrate the desired behaviors.

Beginnings • 1957, college theater play at UNAM. He discovered that acting meant changing energy within the body to portray convincingly a symbol depicted by an actor/actress. • Development of a methodology of stage directing, integrating the main acting theories: – Stanislavsky, with an emphasis on emotion memory. – Diderot, with focus on an intellectual control over the reality of stage. – Grotowsky, who tried to reach the innermost regions of the actor.

Beginnings • Sabido noticed that in every human communication event a tone was created. • In 1967 he researched the tone of comics, because they showed the energy location of individuals. He wrote three stories inserting informational cues into very intense melodrama. The readers perceived the intellectual messages and changed their behavior.

Beginnings • In 1971 he applied his tone theory to television soap operas (telenovela). • He located 10 points in the body, which would change the tone of acting. They are located in the head, the neck and chest, and the lower part of the trunk (colon, pubic area and the sphincter). • Audience ratings provided quantitative data, and focus groups and panel interviews provided qualitative data on the reactions of the audience.

Beginnings • He began to use the telenovela format as the backbone of his methodology because: – The emotional tone of telenovela produces an identification which can be used to teach the audience a desired social behavior. – Latin American telenovela has a definite beginning, middle, and ending. – This format allows connecting the audience with the infrastructure services in short epilogues at the end of the episodes. – Since telenovela is a reflection on what is good and bad in society, it is easy to add characters for identification.

Beginnings • 1975: Ven conmigo (Come with me), showed the effects of literacy. • 1977: Acompañame (Come along), was designed to combat population growth. • Pindexter spread the E-E methodology around the world after that. • Patrick Coleman of Johns Hopkins University adapted and applied this approach to popular music in Latin America, Philippines and other nations, and to television soap operas.

Beginnings • Between 1975 and 1982, Sabido produced 7 telenovelas promoting adult literacy, family planning, female equality, etc. • 1979: Vamos juntos (Let’s go together), showed women empowerment. • 1997 Hijos de nadie (Children of no one), rose awareness for kids living on the street. • He has written many historical telenovelas.

MacLean’s theory of the triune brain • The human brain is composed of 3 parts: – Reptile brain: responsible for the motion behavior of the body. When energy goes to it, we are blind victims of our instincts. – Limbic brain: responsible for emotions. When energy goes to it, we are moved to identify with a figure we believe is similar to us. – Neo-cortex: responsible for analysis, generalization, induction and deduction. When energy goes to it, we process reality in an intellectual, calculating way.

Nodes • Nodes are conglomerates of nerve patterns, veins, and arteries in which energy transduction is concentrated. When this energy is emitted as a flow, it can be tuned in by other human beings to create a “drive”, an emotional or intellectual response.

Nodes • Reptilian nodes: nodes which deal with basic motions. – 1. Node of implacability: located in the base of the nape. It gives the ice-cold look and regulates the setting of patterns that activate lungs, stomach and heart. – 2. Node of fleeing: located in the pit of the stomach. It provokes a tone of terror. – 3. Node of intraspecific aggression: used by violent heroes. – 4. Node of sex: centers around the sexual organs. – 5. Node of limits: located in the sphincter. Feeds energy to all the other nodes. It gives a tone of mysticism.

Nodes • Limbic nodes: they can provoke an emotional vibration in the receiver. – 1. The emotional head node: located below the eyes. It can change the amplitude, longitude, and frequency of the eyes. – 2. The glottis node: located above the glottis, helpful in creating a very emotional tone. – 3. The philanthropy node: located at the base of the neck, enormously intensifies emotion. It can cause sympathy or pity. – 4. The dignified chest node: located in the center of the chest, generates a painful and dignified tone. – 5. The painful node: located in the connection between the armpits. It provokes brutal, emotional pain.

Nodes • Intellectual node: found in the higher part of the head, behind and above the eyes. It gives an intellectual tone to communication. • Flow: A set of vibrations consciously organized and aimed at producing an effect on one or more human beings. • The foundational idea of entertainment- education is that flows can be enriched.

What is tone? • Tone means tension. The degree of tension and distension (vibration) provoked by the flow in the pattern repertoire formed by the nerve circuits of the receivers is fundamental in Sabido’s theory. • There is no classification or precise measure for tones. • A tonal group in an audience is formed by two or more human vibrating units that grant the flow format a similar tone.

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