A lesson said in humour is long remembered’ Certainly, humour cannot solve all the challenges of classroom management, but there is no doubt that by harnessing the power of humour, it can be a powerful ally in the classroom.
Laughter in particular is helping students release much of the anxieties they must be feeling at present with their futures looking so uncertain, falling behind on their studies, their social lives practically in pieces, and even health concerns over attending school, to name a few.
I’ve tried to kick off a lesson by showing a short, funny Youtube video just to create a positive, relaxed atmosphere, a community spirit at the start of a lesson. It really does work!
Remember the proverb – ‘a lesson said in humour is long remembered?’ Consider introducing topics with funny but educational videos. Try out https://youtu.be/6FB0rDsR_rc
These videos also can be used as a transition to get learners in a positive, alert mental state – yes, activating schemata!
I love using photos to capture those spontaneous moments as they can infuse humour and often transform a classroom (online included) into a family-like atmosphere.
As most of us have smart phones overflowing with photos, why not bring some of those into the classroom? Students just love seeing what you as a teacher have been doing over the weekend. It also puts you in a more humane light and students often warm more to you. Furthermore, invite your students to do the same! They can share their photos online too.
Modeling your own mistakes (sometimes intentional), encourages students to take a more lighthearted view of their own mistakes, laugh about them and subsequently learn from them. It also highlights how very human you are as a teacher and that we all are capable of making some pretty funny errors!
It’s powerful to engage learners in opportunities to laugh that don’t rely on putdowns or inappropriate language. Of course, we would never want to mock a student for an error made, or the teacher for that matter.
Certainly, we desire to form good relationships with our students, and good relations with a student is often directly related to how they behave.
Sharing a joke with your class fosters a degree of solidarity between student and teacher - but don’t force it! Sometimes, forcing humour prematurely can give the impression that you, as a teacher are solicitating acceptance. Feel relaxed and natural when introducing humour in a classroom setting; let it flow naturally.
In short, laughter has its place in the learning process, whether online or in a normal classroom setting. Three of those reasons are:
1. Humour creates a welcoming, warm atmosphere that is always conducive to learning.
2. It allows learners the opportunity to engage and be pro-active, boosting their self-image.
3. When students recognise and learn to take a more lighthearted view of their mistakes, they often can learn from them and accept the direction much more favorably
Humour is the lifeblood of any effective, engaging lesson. When used naturally and in a discerning and proper way it adds to the community spirit of the classroom. Learning becomes more open and manageable for both the teacher and student.