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Education, Humor in

  • By: Norah E. Dunbar
  • In: Encyclopedia of Humor Studies
  • Edited by: Salvatore Attardo
  • Subject:General Media, Communication & Cultural Studies, Sociology of Culture

Is a funny teacher a better teacher? Educators everywhere have wondered whether using humor in the classroom is to their benefit or detriment. On the one hand, it can make a teacher seem more sociable or approachable. On the other hand, it can magnify power differences and even hurt a teacher's credibility if humor is overused or jokes aren't well received. Most educational humor research has focused on the positive consequences of classroom humor, particularly in terms of how humor increases motivation and reduces anxiety, enhances the classroom environment, increases student responsiveness, creates a positive instructor-student relationship, improves class attendance and test performance, and promotes learning. However, there may be negative consequences for educators who use humor in the classroom as well. In this entry, ...

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