Humor in Mathematics Classroom

Topics: Mathematics, Comedy, Humour Pages: 6 (1911 words) Published: January 17, 2013

Humor in Mathematics Classroom

To make the learning in classroom more fun, teachers do make a different strategies or techniques. Game and laughter is very important in learning, that’s why teachers that do have humor make their class more enjoyable and interesting. Anyone who has paid attention to great speakers would know that humor is an excellent method for eliciting sympathy from the audience and opening them up to your message. Every teacher also knows that a sense of humor is necessary to winning the hearts of students. How should this inform teaching? Should the teachers focus on creating an entertaining show for their students? Or would the teachers change their lessons into therapy sessions? This study presents a teaching approach that is built around math problems that are for the student at the same time Cheerful (entertaining, funny, cool) and Challenging (difficult). We call this CheCha mathematics.

The technique of using humor to enliven lectures is as ancient as the Babylonian Talmud. Rabbah (Babylonian Talmud, Shabbos 30b), a Talmudic sage who lived 1700 years ago, would say something humorous before starting to lecture to the scholars, and they would laugh; after that, he would begin his lecture. Rabbi Meir (Babylonian Talmud, Sanhedrin 38b), another Talmudic sage, was an expert in fox fables and would devote one-third of his lecture to parables. These sages recognized the value of humor in education, even in ethical and religious instruction. Most statistics textbooks do not use a humorous approach, with exceptions such as Runyon (1977) and Pyrczak (1998). Blumenfeld and Alpern (1985) discuss ten reasons to use humor in the classroom. These include such factors as opening communication and the humanizing effect of humor on image. Berk (1996, 1998) claims that humor has the ability to decrease students’ anxiety, improve the ability to learn, and boost self-esteem. This, in turn, can encourage a more receptive learning atmosphere. One researcher found that having students watch an episode of Seinfeld helped calm them and reduced their heartbeats when they were later forced to do something stressful, give an impromptu speech about Bosnia, a subject they knew very little about, in front of a camera. The heart rates of students who had watched the humorous Seinfeld episode rose from an average of 70 to averages of 80 to 85 beats per minute while speaking; the heart rates of students who had not been inoculated with humor rose to a mean of 100 (Burkhart 1998). Lundberg and Thurston (1992) discuss various ways humor can be used in the classroom.

CheCha math method is based on three educational approaches: acknowledging the role of affect in math learning (Hannula, 2006), using humor in teaching (Grecu, 2008) and use of open-ended problems in math teaching (Pehkonen, 2004). Affect in mathematical thinking and learning

In order to study affect in math education in contexts of actual classrooms there are three main elements to pay attention to: cognition, emotion, and motivation. Achievement without motivation is not sustainable, and neither is motivation without enjoyment. All three domains have a more rapidly changing state-aspect and more stable trait-aspect. (Hannula, 2006). One "fundamental principle of human behavior is that emotions energize and organize perception, thinking and action" (Izard, 1991). Research has confirmed a positive relationship between positive affect and achievement. It seems that the affective outcomes are most important during the first school years, as they are less likely to be altered later on. Two key elements of a desired affective disposition are self-confidence and motivation to learn (Hannula, 2006). Advances in our understanding of the neuropsychological basis of affect (e.g. Damasio 1995, LeDoux, 1998) have radically changed the old view of the...
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