Thursday, March 25, 2010

Using Humour in Education

A long time ago, far, far, away... Ok, a couple of years ago and just down the road, I facilitated the Breaking Barriers program along with two other programs, 5 days a week at three jails for three years. This is one of the "resources" we actually used in Breaking Barriers which was designed by a "consumer of correctional services" aka Gordy Graham. We used a video series produced by Gordy but the story in this clip of Hyrum Smith was part of that series.

I like this style of humour, where the "learning object" in embedded and explicit in the story and the humour is sprinkled throughout to season the narrative making it much more palatable and memorable. Research has shown that our brain tends to remember ideas associated with stories and with humour.

Humor has the ability to capture the attention of the brain. “Emotion drives attention and attention drives learning.” (Sylwester, 1995) Learners need to pay attention in order to learn and humour is one way to capture attention while maintaining the relaxed alert state that is optimal for learning (Caine, et al, 2009).

There was another story, in the Breaking Barriers series, about where beliefs come from told via story about a young married couple and the cooking of a ham that I was trying to find. No luck but if I get a chance today I might try to record it myself.

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