The Laughter/Learning Link
Presenter: Rick Shade
"Laughter is a serious business."
This workshop was based on the idea of using appropriate humor in the classroom to stimulate creative thinking, reduce anxiety, motivate learners, enhance memory and comprehension, and make learning more enjoyable.
The idea is rooted in Shade's theory of three links between laughter and learning:
1. Link to creativity and divergent thinking: "the ability to throw off our mental chains of rigid thought, routines, patterns, and conventionality" (Shade).
2. Laughter is important to your physical well-being. Noted health benefits include production and release of endorphins, enhancement of immune systems, and pain control.
3. Laughter-learning relationship. Laughter may lead to new ideas or understandings.
I had so much fun at this workshop and laughed a lot. Shade used an overhead projector to present over a hundred cartoons that got everyone laughing and relaxed. We shared experiences of laughter in our classrooms as well as times when we wished we could have laughed.
I purchased a workbook at the convention filled with classroom activities including a Humor Quotient (HQ) Inventory, ideas around cartooning and using comics in the classroom, writing songs, creating bumper stickers, use of idioms, parodies, or quotes, top 10 lists...
Each activity is set up like a lesson plan - complete with humor, thinking, and content goals, which can be tailored to any content area. Feel free to borrow the workbook, make copies, etc. I would love to share it.