Using Humor: Helping Students in the “Middle” Think More Creatively and Critically Jeff Opelia 3-24-09 Creative and Critical Thinking
<ul><li>If middle school teachers use humor while instructing, will students learn more? </li></ul><ul><li>Let’s put ourselves in the students place to help figure out the answer!!!!!!! </li></ul>
Ask Yourself These Simple Questions <ul><li>1. Do you like an atmosphere where humor is appreciated? </li></ul><ul><li>2. Would it be easier to be more productive in a light hearted setting? </li></ul><ul><li>3. If you were expected to spend time at a workshop to learn about a subject that you find boring, would you like the presenter to be a bit witty? </li></ul><ul><li>4. Do you find ways to entertain your kids to help them find learning fun? </li></ul>
I hope you answered yes to 1 -4!! <ul><li>Students come to school with expectations, family problems much larger than ours, good and bad attitudes, high and low abilities, a willingness to learn and not to learn, likes and dislikes, and 100’s of different personalities. </li></ul><ul><li>We as teachers are not much different than they are when it comes to learning no matter where in the world we live in. Humor brings on smiles, creative thought, and opens our minds to listening and learning. </li></ul>
Middle School Students <ul><li>“ With middle school kids, you don’t have to be funny. The students appreciate it if you just try!” D.Larkin (classroom instruction, October 11, 1991) </li></ul>
Does Humor Help Students in the “Middle” Use their abilities for Creative and Critical Thinking? Who would/should know? The students? The teachers? You decide!! Click to Play video
Don't worry if you're not funny: people remember content 16% better when humor is used, even when the humor sucks and they don't laugh. (Powell, 2009)
<ul><li>Some years ago Dr Kataria instituted programs to introduce 'laughter exercises' into schools with the objective of bringing more laughter into the lives of the students. Teachers at schools where these programs have been instituted report that students have a much more positive attitude and that absenteeism and disciplinary problems have been reduced.(Humor-Laughter.Com) </li></ul>
Increase Connections Right to Left <ul><li>Humor may physiologically help to connect left-brain activities with the right-brained creative side. This connection may allow students to experience a “refreshing pause” and better assimilate the information presented . (Garner, 2005) </li></ul>
A Personal Technique I Share with this Author <ul><li>Now I make a few important rules that cannot be broken under any circumstances, I take the time to know each student personally: and I use humor whenever possible to make my point without making students lose face. (Johnson, 2005) </li></ul><ul><li>Is this something that may work in your classroom? With your grade level of students? </li></ul><ul><li>Would this style help your students to be relaxed enough to take more chances and feel more comfortable to ask creative and critical questions to learn from each other? </li></ul>
Humor also nurtures creativity by offering practice at stretching your thinking to make sense out of something.(McGhee)
<ul><li>At a very Early Age We Felt Humor and Laughter as We Learned from those Around US! </li></ul>
“ The baby's smile that gladdens a mother's heart also lights up the reward centers of her brain.” (Baylor College of Medicine, 2008) What reward centers light up in a Middle Schooler’s Brain when the teacher smiles and uses humor?
Just like students, we like humor to help us make learning Fun!!
Students are all different with many issues to deal with in their lives . We need to or should try and “lighten” up their days with humor to help them learn with less stress for greater chances to be creative and critical thinkers!
In middle school, teachers who use humor even if it is not so funny, increases the students learning potential by 16 %!! 16% More!!!!!!!
Left and Right Brains make better connections when humor is used for learning. With a refreshing “Pause” ah ah ah…..
Using Humor in the Classroom reduces behavior problems and absenteeism while increasing positive attitudes!
“ The use of humor in teaching has been linked to learning in several studies.” (Bekelja, Bainbridge, Wojtaszczyk, & Smith (2006)
Smile in your Middle School Classroom … and laugh a little too…or a lot!!!
References <ul><li>Powell, A. (2009, March 15) Using Humor in the Classroom. </li></ul><ul><li>Message posted to http://ascd.typepad.com/blog/2009/03/ </li></ul><ul><li>blogging-using-using-humor-in-the-classroom.html </li></ul><ul><li>Johnson, L. Teaching Outside of the Box. Jossey-Bass </li></ul><ul><li>(August 15, 2005) </li></ul><ul><li>Humor-Laughter.Com. Kid’s Laughter is as Natural as Rain. </li></ul><ul><li>Retrieved April 6, 2009, from http://www.humor- </li></ul><ul><li>laughter.com/kids-laughter.html </li></ul><ul><li>Garner, R. (2005). Humor, Analogy, Metaphor: H.A.M. it up in </li></ul><ul><li>Teaching(Sam Houston State University) Abstract retrieved </li></ul><ul><li>March 28, 2009, from </li></ul><ul><li>http://radicalpedagogy.icaap.org/content/issue6_2/garner </li></ul>
Baylor College of Medicine (2008, July 8). Baby's Smile Is A Natural High. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 13, 2009, from http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/07/080707081852.htm Bekelja, M., Bainbridge, Ann., Wojtaszczyk, A., & Smith, T. (2006). Appropriate and Inappropriate Uses of Humor by Teachers. Communication Education, Volume 55, Number 2, April 2006 , pp. 178-196(19) Abstract retrieved April 2, 2009, from http://www.ingentaconnect.com/search/ article:title=humor+teaching&title_type=tka&year_from= 1998&year_to=2009&database=1&pageSize=20&index=4 References
References McGhee P. Using Humor to Boost Creativity. Retrieved April 12, 2009, from http://184.108.40.206/search?q=cache:en YC6ZqLSAEJ:www.laughterremedy.com/article_pdfs/Creativity.pdf+ humor+creativity&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us&client=firefox-a
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