10 SES 07 B, Programmes and Approaches: Implementation and evaluation
Jokes, funny remarks and mockeries characterize daily classroom interactions. Laughter influences interaction patterns and adds to the creation of the social structure in the classroom. As humor is part of all kinds of interactions and a necessary ingredient to maintain relationships (Kuipers, 2009), it is important to consider the role of humor in understanding teacher-student interactions in the classroom and how this adds to the construction of an established relationship between students and teachers throughout the year. These relationships are influenced by contextual factors and have a large effect on various student outcomes (Davis, 2003). A systematic study of the use of humor in student-teacher relationships may be very insightful as it is exactly in these informal ways of communication and small moments that classroom cultures are shaped (Lovorn & Holaway, 2015) and social, ethnic and cultural identities and inequalities are reinforced at school (Lareau, 2010). Doing so, this study contributes to the existing literature by understanding how classroom dynamics and the classroom context matter for the use and meaning of humor in classrooms, and to fully understand how this context shapes the nature of and determines the importance of student-teacher relationships (Davis, 2003). These insights can help us to better inform teachers (in training) about the implications of using (what kind of) humor in the classroom and how this can relate to the development of more/less equality in school. This study builds on existing research in education on the use of humor in classrooms by studying: 1) how both the nature and function of humor changes according to classroom context and for various actors involved (i.e., students and teachers) and 2) how humor shapes student-teacher interactions and relationships, impacts class group dynamics and how this all varies across classroom contexts.
In order to grasp the use and functions of humor in the classroom, one cannot neglect the specific classroom context, in which students and teachers have clearly described roles and unequal power relations, and rely on particular cultural frames of reference, or repertoires based on other socializing contexts. As indicated by Goffman’s (1990 (1959)) dramaturgic analyzes, people tend to engage in a theatrical performance during face-to-face interactions. In these interactions, people try to influence the impression others have of themselves by changing their appearance and ways of being. While this theatrical performance includes far more than humoristic remarks and jokes, humor is clearly a part of it. Therefore, the focus on humor in the classroom from a dramaturgic point of view was used to study of the use of humor in classroom settings. Additionally, attention was paid to how the use of humor could contribute to the reproduction of social inequalities in education. Humor demarcates social boundaries and humor styles vary across gender, social and ethnic/racial lines. However, not all people share a similar sense of humor, and therefore, do not have the same possibility to bond with each other. Therefore, the use of humor only adds to the establishment of positive student-teacher relationships, if people share similar ideas concerning the things that are perceived as ‘funny’ or ‘humor’. People’s sense of humor is important for boundary making, contain an element of exclusivity, and therefore, may work exclusive as well (Kuipers, 2009). The differences in sense of humor across social classes are crucial to understand how humor could add to the establishment of bonding student-teacher relationships across classrooms and the interpretation of each other’s jokes. This is particularly so because the social composition of the class group does not always coincides with the background and characteristics of the teachers.
Davis, H. A. (2003). Conceptualizing the role and influence of student-teacher relationships on children's social and cognitive development. Educational psychologist, 38(4), 207-234. Goffman, E. ((1959) 1990). The presentation of self in everyday life. London: Penguin Psychology. Kuipers, G. (2009). Humor styles and symbolic boundaries. Journal of Literary Theory, 3(2), 219-239. doi: 10.1515/JLT.2009.013 Lareau, A. (2000). Social class and the daily lives of children. A study from the United States. Childhood, 72(2), 155-171. doi: 10.1177/0907568200007002003 Martineau, W.H. (1972). A model of the social functions of humor. In Goldstein J.H. & McGhee, P.E. (Eds.). The psychology of humor: theoretical perspectives and empirical issues (pp. 114-122). New York: Academic Press. Pollard, A. (1984). Goodies, jokers, and gangs. In Hammersley, M. & P. Woods (Eds.). Life in school. The sociology of pupil culture (pp. 238-254). Milton Keys: Milton University Press. Woods, P. (1976). Having a laugh: an antidote to schooling. In Hammersley, M. & Woods, P. (Eds.). The process of schooling. A sociological reader. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul. Woods, P. (1983). Coping at school through humor. British Journal of Sociology of Education, 4(2), 111-124. doi: 10.1080/0142569830040201 Woods, P. (2000 (1977)). Teaching for survival. In Ball S.J. (Ed.). Sociology of education. Major themes. Volume III - Institutions and processes (pp. 1339-1359). London: Routledge/Falmer.
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Network 1. Continuing Professional Development: Learning for Individuals, Leaders, and Organisations
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