TEACHERS’ PERCEPTIONS OF HUMOR IN TEACHING
University of Thessaly (GREECE)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2010 Proceedings
Publication year: 2010
Conference name: 3rd International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 15-17 November, 2010
Location: Madrid, Spain
Abstract:During the last years more and more teachers move away from the traditional pedagogic perception according to which humor does not fit the serious work of teaching. This development is connected i.a. with the realization and empirical verifi-cation of the positive effects of humor from the Education Science and other scientific disciplines (Medicine, Psychology etc.). Despite this, research shows that some teachers avoid humorous situations in the classroom, because a) they are afraid that they may lose control of the students, b) they do not believe in humor’s positive effects and c) they construe teaching as a very serious affair. There is also evidence that teachers use humor in their classroom in order to attract the attention and the interest of students, to decrease the stress of teaching, to improve the social climate and their relation with the students, to promote learning, but also to feel themselves comfortably and relaxed.
The studies on humor in the classroom have increased by far in recent years. This shows the importance of humor in teaching but also contributes in the clarification of teachers’ perceptions and practices about humor and the terms and conditions for humor’s presence in the classroom. In this frame we investigated the perceptions of 771 teachers of elementary school in Greece concerning humor in their teaching. More concretely we examined the perceptions of teachers concerning the advantages of humor but also the likely dangers that may come from it, the frequency and the forms of humor that they use in their teaching and finally their more general apprecia-tion for the importance of humor in their school life and in their life in general. The first analyses show that teachers are very positive towards humor, they rate it very highly relative to other elements of teaching, recognize the same positive effects that research has highlighted, but they also recognize some negative aspects (aggressive/hostile humor: irony, sarcasm).
Keywords: Humor, teaching, teachers’ perceptions.