The Laughing Brain Learns!

Pirate Minion

This past week I was given a task of helping with creating videos for the college’s new student orientation. I was asked to take a look at a video the library staff already created, to give them feedback and suggestions to update it, etc. I liked what they did, because they used humor to let students know of the services they offer. When meeting with the library staff, they were enthusiastic about their creation, and feedback from other staff members (who had watched the video along with students) was very positive. It was fun for the students, and I am sure they got something out of the production. Learning, while having fun. That gave me the idea for this week’s blog entry. Prepare for my stream of consciousness!

Having fun with learning. I have mentioned it being a common thread in my andragogical career. I have encountered, as we all have I am sure, the various types of instructors and how they affected our learning. I am a self-deprecating goofball generally, so bringing that to the classroom seems natural to me. But I have also wondered why my style of teaching seems to work for me.

Well, I have some science to back me up, it turns out. You see, one of my compadres at The Defense Language Institute in Monterey, California was working on his PhD, studying why the brain works the way it does. He was able to provide me (in great detail) specifics of how the brain operates. He also pointed me towards some interesting articles. For example, he suggested to me that having fun in the classroom worked, because the brain becomes very active when laughing.

As easy as laughing seems, it is actually a very complex task that requires activity in five different areas of the brain. When you have an active brain, it’s quite possible you have an active learner. And having an active learner is what we are all after, is it not?

Having fun with learning, laughing in the classroom, creating an active learning environment. All of these things are part of a successful educational process. Humans, in basic terms, have an innate sense of curiosity, and when they have a lack of stimulation, boredom sets in. And boredom is the learning killer.

This past week I have been consumed by this blog’s theme, and just had to get it out. A verbal vomit, if you will. Next week I should be back on track with speaking about something technologically cool that just may help out with getting your message to students… or anyone, really.

Oh, and I do realize the humor in one of my citations below. The author’s name is “Brain,” and it was written on April Fool’s Day. I can assure you that it is only a coincidence.

Brain, M. (2000, April 1). How Laughter Works – HowStuffWorks. Retrieved from

Brown, P. (2010, January 27). 50 Brain Facts Every Educator Should Know – Associate Retrieved from


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