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A study of laughter in science lessons

Roth, W-M, Ritchie, S.M., Hudson, P. and Mergard, V. (2011) A study of laughter in science lessons. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 48 (5). pp. 437-458.

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Laughter is a fundamental human phenomenon. Yet there is little educational research on the potential functions of laughter on the enacted (lived) curriculum. In this study, we identify the functions of laughter in a beginning science teacher's classroom throughout her first year of teaching. Our study shows that laughter is more than a gratuitous phenomenon. It is the result of a collective interactive achievement of the classroom participants that offsets the seriousness of science as a discipline. Laughter, whereas it challenges the seriousness of science, also includes the dialectical inversion of the challenge: it simultaneously reinforces the idea of science as serious business. Furthermore, levels of intimacy, complicity, and solidarity between the teacher and her students were reproduced and transformed through their laughter in class.

Item Type: Journal Article
Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell
Copyright: © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
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