Friday, March 21, 2014

Laughter: Pretty Good Medicine

It's been well established that laughter confers physiological benefits that can speed up healing. Researchers have also shown that laughter, and the humor that triggers it, provides significant mental benefits:
We benefit from taxing our brains with the mental exercise of humor, much as we benefit from the physical exercise of a long run or a tough tennis match. Comedy extends our mental stamina and improves our mental flexibility. A 1976 study by Avner Ziv of Tel Aviv University found that those who listened to a comedy album before taking a creativity test performed 20% better than those who weren't exposed to the routine beforehand. In 1987, researchers at the University of Maryland found that watching comedy more than doubles our ability to solve brain teasers,
So, teachers, rather than muzzle the wiseacre sitting in the back of the room, use his smart-alecky remarks to help liven up the lesson plan. You need to up your game to make the banter interesting and worthwhile, yet funny. Your students' brains will be exercised, and maybe yours will, too.

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