|"How To" Books Laugh to Learn in Education|
The Laughing Classroom
by Diana Loomans, Karen Kolberg
Loomans and Kolberg have written the best available cornucopia of hands-on ideas for applying humor and easy-to-follow techniques for increasing the playfulness of teaching. There are warn-ups, laughing lessons, and play breaks.
The Laughing Classroom begins with self-inventories concerning personal uses of humor and extracts a laughing oath. There are 30 ideas for fast and fun humor, 25 ways to go the extra smile, and the ABCs of fun. Techniques include humorous ways to improve memory, enliven debates, and promote cooperation. The authors demonstrate how to use humor in discipline and ease tension with before and laughter scenarios.
|Laugh and Learn by Doni Tamblyn|
Recently, an old friend suggested that I read Doni Tamblyn's Laugh and Learn, a "how to" book that delineates various exercises, all intended to increase creative thought. At first I was reluctant to read the book--as a high school teacher I am bombarded by teaching methodologies, each one claiming to be the magic key that will unlock student achievement and motivation. So I was surprised when I discovered that Laugh and Learn was 1) witty 2) entertaining 3) well-researched 4) practical and, best of all, actually works!
Through a combination of data compiled from brain-compatible research, and an enormous catalogue of easy to read, easy to implement student activities, Tamblyn makes the compelling case that creative thought flourishes best when learners are first instructed to avoid being clever and original. While the ultimate goal may be to reach heights of innovative thinking, Tamblyn assures us that such heights will more than likely be reached when the learner's mind is relaxed enough to begin making the connections that distinguish the truly interesting thought from the mundane.
In each chapter, Tamblyn discusses the hows and whys of encouraging learners to lose their anxiety and increase their joy as they discover the creative process within themselves. Although the book is a virtual treasure trove of fun activities for students, my favorites have been the "mind map" and the "finish the sentence ball toss." (You have to read the book to find out why these activities are such big fun!) Again, the idea behind each activity is to "sneak up" on the creative drive before it has a chance to realize that it is being scrutinized and therefore shut down like a wall flower at a jr. high school dance.
At least one or two days a week, I incorporate a Laugh and Learn activity into my lesson plans. My students love the program. And their test scores and projects reflect the influence of Tamblyn's techniques upon greater retention of content and increased motivation for success. This is nothing short of a miracle, when you consider the natural reluctance of teenagers to try anything that might make them look "uncool" in front of their classmates.
Laugh and Learn is both brilliant and of enormous practical benefit--two qualities not often found in teacher training manuals. Tamblyn's book should occupy a special place on every educator's desk. Five stars, Ms. Tamblyn, five stars and more...
|Professors are from Mars, Students are from Snickers|
by Ronald A. Berk
Humor can break down these barriers so that professors can better connect with their students and other audiences. It can be used as a teaching tool to facilitate learning. Ron Berk describes and illustrates a wide variety of techniques that can be integrated systematically into instruction and professional presentations. Professors who consider yourselves "jocularly arthritic", take note: this book is close-captioned for the humor-impaired.