The below was initially written for a school role play scene. For some reason, teacher was less than impressed. A well-meaning classmate suggested that I may have better success here- what do you think?
The Importance of Discipline in a Student’s Life
Being a student is stressful. A student must continually juggle the demands of multiple teachers, as well as demands imposed by parents, to say nothing of one’s obligations to friends in turbulent times of one’s social development. To survive all this, a student must develop a strong sense of personal discipline in maintaining a positive attitude and a light heart. Perhaps nothing can aid this process more than frequent doses of laughter, a discipline which students would be wise to embrace. By becoming disciplined in the art of laughter, students will be better prepared cope with, face, and conquer the demands they face in their academic and social lives.
In an age of increasing costs and demand for various mental health treatments (Mental Health Reform), laughter offers several advantages over more conventional treatments for stress. Unlike many psychiatric drugs, laughter does not carry risks of side effects, dependency, or interactions with other medications. Laughter is free of charge and freely available, with many humourous resources available online, through libraries, or simply through daily interactions. While laughter’s contagious nature may be seen as a downside, this can also be seen as one of laughter’s greatest advantages; when one student develops this discipline, their classmates often find it easy to follow suit and reap similar benefits from the practice.
Laughter has also been shown to enhance the educational process. Students are more likely to enjoy classes in which humour is regularly used, and are likely to feel that they have learned more from these classes compared to others (Stambor, 2006). This effect is not just limited to students’ perceptions, however. Studies have shown that the use of humor leads to higher levels of retention of the facts presented (Henderson, 2015). Humor has also been shown to lower test-induced anxiety, resulting in higher levels of student performance (Berk, 2006).
This practice need not be limited to only students. “Authority figures such as parents and teachers can use wit and humor to edify familial and/or educational relationships and encourage academic excellence by helping lay foundations for effective learning connections” (Lovorn, 2008). Instead of resorting to harsh methods of discipline traditionally employed in classrooms, teachers could instead choose to acknowledge the joyful antics of their charges with an appropriate response of laughter. Doing so would both provide positive reinforcement for the student, who would know that the teacher appreciates the effort they have put into developing their laughter skills, and avoid the unpleasantness associated with more traditional responses to attempts to lighten the atmosphere of the classroom.
Berk, Ronald A and Nanda, Joy. “A randomized trial of humor effects on test anxiety and performance.” Humor – International Journal of Humor Research. Oct. 2006. Volume 19, Issue 4, Pages 425–454. Web. 24 Oct. 2015.
Henderson, Sarah. “Laughter and Learning: Humor Boosts Retention.” Edutopia. 31 Mar. 2015. Web. 24 Oct. 2015.
Lovorn, Michael G. “Humor in the Home and in the Classroom: The Benefits of Laughing While We Learn.” Journal of Education and Human Development. Volume 2, Issue 1, 2008. Web. 24 Oct. 2015.
“Mental Health Reform.” mentalhealthreform.ie. Web. 24 Oct. 2015.
Stambor, Zak. “How laughing leads to learning” Monitor. June 2006 Vol 37, No 6 Page 62. Web. 24 Oct. 2015.