Humor is important in the classroom! Laughter is a great stress reliever too. Laughter also show enjoyment and happiness so I love to go in a classroom that is filled with laughter and smiles.
Sometimes you can diffuse a tense situation with a humorous statement.
Sometimes when a student’s anger is escalating, I will ask for a “time out” and try to tell a knock knock joke. Of course the student looks at me like I’m crazy and I insist that they join in just for the fun of it. I promise we can go back to being angry when we are done. By the time I’m done with the silly joke, the student has either forgotten what he was angry about or he decides that it isn’t worth the trouble.
When there is a conflict between two students, I try to joke that they remind me of an old married couple and start laughing. This usually puts the focus on me and not on each other. As I explain how they resemble and old married couple, I’m giving them time to calm down.
It is extremely important though that I bring humor into the situation but make it perfectly obvious that I’m not making fun of them or laughing AT them. That can make the whole situation even worse.
Sometimes when I’m getting frustrated, it is good to laugh at myself and even let the students see this. This is a great way to model this behavior. Sometimes we take ourselves too seriously and it hinders our learning.
When I’m really at the end of my rope, I even ask my students to help find something funny or positive about this situation. It is amazing what they can come up with. The more we practice this, the easier it becomes.
How do you use laughter in the classroom? Please share.