ATTITUDES OF SEVENTH AND EIGHTH GRADE STUDENTS TOWARDS INTEGRATING HUMOR IN MATH LESSONS

A. Gazit

Hemdat-Hadarom Colleg of Education and Kibbutzim College of Education (ISRAEL)
The aim of this paper is to present a study which investigates the attitudes of junior high school students towards integrating humor into math teaching. The results were also compared to a previous study (Gazit, 2013) which checked the attitudes of pre-service math teachers.
Mathematics and humor are not perceived as being in line with each other. Integrating humor brings about a more pleasant atmosphere and reduces anxieties. It can promote motivation and interest s as well as promote creativity of students. Humor also has the potential to improve the teaching process and make the teacher more human and less threatening (Torok, McMorris& Lin, 2004).

A sample of seventh and eighth students answered a questionnaire (Gazit,2013). The results show that most students disagree that humor and mathematics can't go together and they agree it is important to put humor into math lessons. A large part of the students agree on the benefits of humor as shown in the literature: improving communication, atmosphere, thinking, creativity as well as reducing boredom. Most students also do not agree that humor can harm math lesson or dishonor the teacher. They also do not agree humor cancel the teacher-student distance, but it creates some degree of equality. Eighth grade students showed more support than seventh grade students in introducing humor to math lessons, but less than preschool math teachers. It is recommended that math teachers introduce an element of humor into their math lessons.

References:
[1] Gazit, A., 2013. Pre service mathematics teachers’ attitudes toward integrating humor in math lessons, The Israeli Journal of Humor Research: An International journal. 3, 27-44.
[2] Torok,S. E., McMorris, R.F. & Lin, W.C. 2004. Is humor an appreciated teaching tool?, College Teaching, 52 (1),14-20.