Sunday, February 26, 2006

Make'em Laugh!

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I like to tell jokes in class. My favourite question, when I finish explaining a particularly difficult concept, is:

"Any questions, concerns, complaints, confusions, uncertainties, anxieties or other general inquiries? Any good jokes?"

It lightens the atmosphere and seems to make my students relax and learn better. I'm not the only one who thinks so.

Anyway, I told my students I had learned that "Laughter stimulates both sides of the brain to enhance learning." So if you get "that bad feeling in the pit of your stomach" while doing your homework or studying for a test take a Humour Break (Thanks to John Evans for the link) or watch a sitcom for half an hour. Longer than that would be procrastinating. -- There's a new link in the [Links] list on all the class blogs. ;-)

9 comments:

Art Guy said...
26/2/06 15:02  

I always ask my students "Any questions? Any answers?"

Usually that alone is enough to get a laugh, but some of my kids have read The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy. Now when I ask if there are any answers, those students raise their hands and tell me "42." :)

Darren said...
26/2/06 23:15  

I like that one! ;-)

I've been heard to tell the ocassional students who asks me: "Can I ask you a question?"

"The answer's 42." ;-)

Vicki A. Davis said...
28/2/06 20:12  

That is great. My ninth graders built a riddles wikispace and have done a great job with it.

They have a joke of the day on their homepage. I like the one from yesterday.

Three guys ran into a bar. The fourth one ducked. Why?

Answer: So he wouldn't run into the bar.

Darren said...
28/2/06 21:53  

Thanks for the link Vicki! I'm always looking for new material. ;-)

I usually open with the classic groaner: "A guy walked into a bar ... Ouch!"

I like yours better. ;-)

Rachel Previs said...
2/3/06 09:44  

Dear Darren,

I really liked your blog on "Make'em Laugh." I am a pre-service teacher who always likes to see teachers remember the personable aspect of teaching. Check out what I had to say on my blog!

Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach said...
5/3/06 07:55  

Darren,

You know I love to Make'em laugh. I think as educators we all take ourselves WAY too seriously!

I really enjoy making teachers laugh and a tougher call-- making administrators laugh.

Often in my preservice classes, they are so stressed that I will tell a joke that just sort of falls...and I will look at them and say... it was a joke- you have to laugh at my jokes to get a good grade. Then they laugh. (smirk)

Speaking of preservice teachers... Rachel didnt leave her url but she is one of mine.
http://rfprev.blogspot.com/

Check her out! She is just learning how to build on another's ideas.

This week is good to Skype if you have time.

Sheryl

Darren said...
5/3/06 17:06  

Rachel and Sheryl, you both pointed out how humour can make the learning experience more personable -- I think you're absolutely right!

In my view, the teacher is responsible to do more than present material; he has to create an atmosphere conducive to learning. Particularly in a subject like math, where students bring a host of phobias and insecurities with them into the classroom, I think it's important to create an atmosphere conducive to learning -- humour goes a long way towards achieving that goal. The essay I linked to also underscored this point.

Curiously it's from a course at the University of Arizona "designed as an orientation for post secondary instructors to be effective with today's adult learners." But it's good food for thought for the k-12 set as well. ;-)

Lesley said...
6/3/06 18:04  
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Lesley said...
6/3/06 18:08  

Great blog! I'm one of Sheryl's preservice teachers too and I posted an entry about "Make 'em Laugh" on my blog at http://lrh07.blogspot.com. Today we did standardized testing review for 7 hours at my practicum school and without some humor in the classroom I don't think I would have made it through ;)

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