How can a college instructor improve students’ attitudes and make them eager to attend class? One tactic is to use humor. More importantly, research indicates that humor helps people learn.
Research on Humor and Teaching
Much has been written about humor and learning. Kher, Molstad and Donahue (1999) referenced some of the literature in their article entitled “Using humor in the college classroom to enhance teaching effectiveness in ‘dread courses”. With reference to an earlier work by Wandersee (1982), they indicated that cartoons are one form of humor that promotes facilitates learning.
The Cartoon Guide to Statistics
I learned about “Cartoon Guides” more than 10 years ago. I was teaching Managerial Statistics and Quality at Keller Graduate School of Management. Their “lead” statistics teacher whose name I have long forgotten, mentioned that he used The Cartoon Guide to Statistics. But why would a graduate school instructor want such a reference?
Keller, which has since merged with DeVry University, ran new instructors through their Educator in Training (EIT) program. No matter how much prior teaching experience you had, you were required to complete this multi-class training program. There were two things that I carried away from my training. (Note: I expect they wanted me to carry away a lot more.) First, Keller expected that you prepared lesson plans that “chunked” your lecturing into no more than 20-minute segments. The second, was encouragement to use cartoons. From that day forward, every class I taught at Keller or anywhere else began with a cartoon. When students arrived at my classroom they would always find a cartoon that I had projected.
Humorous Books for College Teachers and Their Students
The title of Kher, Molstad and Donahue’s article ended with “enhance teaching effectiveness in ‘dread courses’.” Some of those dread courses are chemistry and physics. If you are a chemistry or physics instructor you may be interested in these cartoon guides.
More Cartoon Guides
There are several other CARTOON GUIDES. Click on “Cartoon Guides” on the right and check them out!
© 2011 Paul A. Hummel, Ed.D.
December 3, 2011