Please join us this evening, October 8, for Twitter Chat @7pm “Using Humor to teach content and character in the classroom” #WAteachlead
When a person smiles or laughs, it is contagious. We can’t help but smile back or laugh with them. We mimic their expression. When we mimic a person’s face, we are learning empathy and allowing ourselves to feel the other’s emotions. If we don’t mimic the smile or laugh, it inhibits our ability to understand of social cues. (Cell Press, Why Smiles and Frowns are Contagious, 2016)
The classroom is always a place where all the emotions are felt and dealt with, no matter what age group you teach. What better place than to infuse a bit of humor to get the smiles and laughs going! Humor can be used in all subjects and all classrooms.
Humor increases the joy in the classroom. It helps to foster a sense of community. Everyone in the room can contribute the joyous nature of humor and it helps to form bonds between students and teachers. It decreases the defense mechanisms some students and teachers have when they come into the room. Humor helps to increase the retention of knowledge. Hence why if you make a joke in the middle of teaching, the students remember the joke and teaching surrounding it better than other moments. For more information on how humor helps retention, check out this article from Edutopia.
Humor helps the classroom environment be more welcoming to all that enter the room. Students feel connections to the teacher through smiles and laughs, as well as parents when they come in and are able to experience and contribute to the humor. A forced humor can have the opposite effect though. The humor a teacher uses has to be authentic and real. Through the authentic humor, the enthusiasm for learning increases.
Using humor in the lesson helps to bring the content more to life. A teacher can use parody, games, voices, hats, wigs, etc. to promote the humor in the lesson. A teacher can share a silly book or story. The students view the teacher as more vested in the lesson when the lesson is infused with humor. They appreciate the little moments when humor is involved. (McNeely, Using Humor in the Classroom)
I personally like to use humor frequently. I use it in the classroom during all different times to keep the students engaged and going. Sometimes after some intense learning, the students need a moment to break away and allow the brain a breather before continuing with the learning. I know I can’t learn all day without humor infused periodically. Sometimes I use silly acronyms or silly movements to help students remember concepts. The students get a kick out of being able to laugh at their teacher all the while they will always remember the concept due to the silliness that had occurred.
I enjoy hiking in the summer and traveling around the state with my 3 children and husband.