Humor and Learning

s‘Often helped a joke where seriousness used to resist’

Plato.

Traditionally, the education process has been considered like something serious that should be taken with all the required formality and strictness. Fortunately, it has been changing since there are a lot of investigations that prove that the serious work related to learning, is perfectly compatible with humor and laughter.

Emotions arisen from humor are very important not only to the student but to the teacher. Laughing is pleasant and to make laugh any other person is gratifying. When humor is part of the teaching process, students learn and teachers teach happily.

The use of humor by the teacher is worthy for the student since it makes them feel proximity, empathy and affect, fostering closeness, interaction, mutual comprehension as well as the harmonious relationships of trust and cooperation among them, allowing them to build creative and constructive spaces. Likewise, humor produces relaxation, diminish the communicational barriers and increase the group cohesion.

Friendly and funny learning environments produced by humor drive people to relaxation states that foster opening and receiving new ideas, awaken interest and enthusiasm, that positively dispose the students to perform the tasks and pay attention.

Make the new information be accompanied by humor elements, like a joke or a funny anecdote, reinforces the memory as well as the attention, encouraging disposition to learn and the comprehension of the most difficult concepts and facts; besides, it gives the student the chance to see and explain what is beyond evident, taking risks when considering different points of view by applying the creative capacity and divergent thinking.

To really support the educative process, humor has to be sensed and proposed, it must has a didactic function in the pedagogical process, therefore every humor expression (irony, jokes, absurdity, surprises, unexpected situations or endings) must be selected and planned for a specific and right moment according to the context of the learning experience as well as the topic to be introduced, on the contrary, educative process could become in a disorder or a chaotic activity.

As important as taking care of the moment to use humor elements is also taking care of the content thereof, particularly the jokes addressed to adults which, generally, are characterized by referring to politics, religion or regionalism which can hurt or being offensive to any person, and this would be counterproductive in the learning experience. In the same manner, we must take care of not making jokes of any specific person, physical features nor nationalities. The best choice is to laugh from ourselves so we can be sure that we are not hurting anybody, and we will show our learning partners there is nothing bad on that.

Classrooms must be spaces where laughter and positive emotions are daily and natural and where students long to be, pay attention as well as learn, and where teachers want to support this process.

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