ERIC Number: ED458671
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2001
Split a Gut and Learn: Theory and Research.
James, David L.
A review of the educational research on humor use will answer many questions about how it works in the classroom. Humor can be classified in three ways, each with its own primary function: superiority theory--sociological function; relief theory--psychological function; and incongruity theory--intellectual function. Classes filled with relevant humor are perceived by students as interesting, high in support, and affirming. Humor has been found to enhance both creativity and learning. Some studies, which have been replicated, prove that using relevant humor items 3-4 times per hour for an entire semester in college statistics and psychology classes can significantly increase final exam scores over control groups using no planned humor. Based on research, it is safe to conclude the following--humor: can create a supportive learning climate; can increase attention and enjoyment; can assist in learning and retention; can enhance divergent thinking skills; and should be considered an effective teacher trait. Teachers can do the following with humor: use relevant humor in assigned readings; create a humor bulletin board for cartoons, jokes, or quotes; use humorous sentences or problems when writing tests; incorporate humorous videos or TV programs in class as appropriate; create a Top 10 List (David Letterman style) dealing with the topic at hand; and propose a Riddle of the Day or Week. (Contains 13 references.) (NKA)
Publication Type: Information Analyses; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A