Humour

The forum on humour had some great discussions as well this week and it’s ending as well. This is a great TED Talk by Sophie Scott, on why we laugh. She’s a very engaging speaker. She states we laugh 30x with people than on our own. Laughter is definitely contagious and it makes us feel good to have a great big laugh every so often. Providing humour in a classroom that leads to laughter is a great way to reduce stress for learners and instructors. I find laughter in the strangest places and I often provide humour in stressful situations to lighten the mood as Sophie Scott said in the video regarding her father’s funeral. She says humour and laughter makes us feel better, maybe that’s why being around people that make us laugh always feels so good? Laughter is contagious.

The least expected humour is always the most memorable. It’s not the telling of jokes, it’s the dry and witty remarks that help keep students engaged. I think students start to look forward to something unplanned that they can relate to. An unplanned unfortunate activity (sometimes happens when performing demonstrations in front of the entire class) is always a great time to lighten up the mood on my expense. It helps the students realize that we all make mistakes and what can we learn from it? I use the unfortunate activity as a learning tool with added humour and the students love to see me make light of something gone wrong.

A good article on how laughter and humour boosts retention of learning.

Do

  • Use humour to enhance classroom joy
  • Use humour to develop a sense of community
  • Use content-related humour
  • Use age-appropriate humour
  • “Sandwich” humour between instruction and repetition.

Avoid

  • Sarcasm
  • Cruel or inappropriate humour
  • Forced humour
  • Off-topic humour
  • Too much humour

By bringing a sense of comfort to our class and by bringing a smile to your student’s faces you’re winning at the game of teaching. Yay!

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