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Using Humor to Maximize Learning

The Links between Positive Emotions and Education

Mary Kay Morrison

What is humor exactly? How do you use it to maximize learning? If it is so important, why is it rarely mentioned in teacher preparation without some clues for finding and using it? The purpose of this book is to affirm, sustain, and encourage educators in the practice of humor not only as a personal tool to optimize a healthy lifestyle, but to maximize the benefits of humor in education. These benefits include current research-based data on the use of humor to nurture creativity, to increase the capacity for memory retention, to support an optimal learning environment and to build safe communities that reflect the relational trust necessary for collaborative learning. An environment of fun is an indicator of a culture of trust. Each chapter of this book includes a study group format and powerful practice ideas for leaders. These tools can facilitate creative data analysis for educational leaders interested in understanding the relatively new field of positive psychology and how it can contribute to a joyful learning environment that promotes collaborative relationships. « less more »
R&L Education
Pages: 214Size: 6 x 9
978-1-57886-731-8 • Hardback • December 2007 • $92.00 • (£65.00)
978-1-57886-732-5 • Paperback • December 2007 • $42.00 • (£27.95)
978-1-61048-462-6 • eBook • December 2010 • $41.99 • (£27.95)
As founder and director of Humor Quest, Mary Kay Morrison is dedicated to the mission of exploring the links between cognitive research and humor. Her career has included teaching K-12 as well as at university and community college levels, facilitation of humor workshops and leadership academies, and presentations at state, national and international conferences.
Chapter 1 Humor: The Tonic for Tired Educators
Chapter 2 Developing Your Humor Being; A Nut Is Born
Chapter 3 Mouse Droppings: Examining Brain Research and Humor
Chapter 4 Hurtful Humor: No Laughing Matter
Chapter 5 The Humor Workout, Pumping Up With Practice
Chapter 6 It's a Circus Out There!
Chapter 7 Survival Humor for Stressed Leaders
We need this book! The students and teachers of the world need this book...It has just the right mix of casual tone and authoritative demeanor. I also like the humor quotes sprinkled throughout the manuscript, and the exercises included are wonderful. I'm also glad Morrison laid to rest the unsupported quote claiming that children laughing 300-400 times per day vs. 15-20 times for adults. This is a book that is easy/fun to read and ever so needed.
Bob Nozik, editor, Association for Applied and Therapeutic Humor (AATH) EZINE

This book is critically needed and will be embraced by teachers. I appreciate the inclusion of strategies for administrators and hope that administrators will be drawn to the book in this time of high-stakes and accountability. This is a worthwhile project and one that is long overdue.
Maylan Dunn, Ph.D., Early Childhood Education, Northern Illinois University Department of Teaching and Learning

An effective teacher 'in-service' occurs when educators can walk away with useful information and, simultaneously, enjoy the presentation. In addition, utilizing a positive focus, instead of negativity, with alternative students enables teachers to develop very effective relationships with their students. In an audience of alternative school teachers, where stress is definitely a bi-product of their profession, Mary Kay's 'Humergy' concept - in which energy derives from an optimistic attitude and a sense of humor - is a very effective strategy that teachers can use all year round.
Dr. Rebecca Montoya-Kostro, director of West 40 Regional Safe Schools, La Grange Park, IL

This book is filled with all sorts of gems- wonderful quotes, related research, and absolutely great on the-job practical suggestions....Highly recommended!
B. Miller; Amazon.Com, 4/4/08

...a very useful book....Morrison not only argues successfully that it should be integral to classroom life, but she also provides a very practical guide and helpful resources on how to do it(and her book also provided most of the jokes in this column).
.; Brain Connection, April 2008

In a nutshell, Mary Kay Morrison captured some of the most positive research, arguments, and compelling reasons for teachers to use humor in their teaching and in their lives. Having taught 3rd, 5th, and middle school grades for several years in a previous lifetime, I think this book will be really useful.
Ronald A. Berk, Ph.D., professor, Biostatistics & Measurement, former assistant dean for Teaching, The Johns Hopkins University (Baltimore, MD)

Author May Kay Morrison, an educator from Illinoisand director of the Association for Applied and Therapeutic Humor, coins a new term, "humergy," which she defines as "the energy that emerges from joy and optimism of our inner spirit..." She then sets about sharing ways to increase or inhibit one's humergy. . . .The book closes with humor designed, Morrison says, as "survival humor for stressed leaders." In other words, it's designed for all of us.
School Administrator, November 2009

The professional educator will discover learning and attitudinal outcomes for oneself as well as for the students in her care.
Illinois Ascd Newsletter