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ERIC Number: ED381781
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1995
Pages: 8
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: N/A
ISSN: N/A
Using Humor To Help Students Respond to One Another's Writing.
Grow, Gerald
A widespread movement is underway to shift from teacher-centered toward more student-centered learning. Teachers are being encouraged to lecture less and lead more discussions, to be less directive and more facilitative. Students are being encouraged to be less passive and more participatory. In a magazine writing class, an instructor asked his students to describe the type of comments they would like to hear about the papers they had written on a personal experience. They said such things as "How did the story work as a whole?" or "Tell me what I did well.""Be specific.""This is what I want to hear most." These comments came after he joked with them by announcing first thing in the class that one of them would stand in front of the class and read his or her paper aloud. Then, the instructor informed them that members of the class would pick it to pieces and reduce the author to a quivering mass of insecurity. The result was a release of tension and an airing of feelings about why students fear participating in class. There is a method of humor that works by bringing into the open things that are unspoken, making a joke of them, and allowing people a way to decompress an inexpressible feeling. Some people use this kind of humor as a method of attack--with sarcasm. It can also be used empathetically, as a way of acknowledging that one person has "read" what another person is feeling and that it is all right. Thus, humor is an effective tool in the classroom. (TB)
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Tension Reduction Theory