FOREIGN LANGUAGE ASSESSMENT: LAUGHTER AND STUDENTS’ TEST PERFORMANCE
1 University of Sunderland (UNITED KINGDOM)
2 London Metropolitan University (UNITED KINGDOM)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2011 Proceedings
Publication year: 2011
Conference name: 4th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 14-16 November, 2011
Location: Madrid, Spain
Abstract:Fostering a happy, relaxed atmosphere through humour and laughter in order to improve various aspects of life and work performance has been discussed by scholars in different disciplines. Many language teachers all over the world are consciously or unconsciously aware of this and use laughter in the classroom as a way of encouraging classes to develop into supportive social groups. This paper looks at the results of research at a UK university exploring whether and how laughter might affect the performance of ab initio language students in their assessment. To date, the likely effects of laughter on language attainment in Higher Education or the outcome of the application of specific techniques to increase university students’ language attainment by making them happier has not been adequately addressed in empirical studies. Ab initio students, who were studying Spanish, were the participants of the study, as they form a tabula rasa for the research by reducing the variables that need to be taken into account. The results of the study show that laughter affects positively the performance of the experimental group. We also examine current views on the use of laughter to improve personal well-being in the hope that it will be used more in the field of foreign language education.
Keywords: Laughter, happiness, freedom from anxiety, foreign language assessment, foreign language test performance.