Creating the 'our' in humour: A case study of one teacher's transfer of ideology into a holistic flow of 'language in action'.

Year: 2001

Author: Fitzsimmons, Phil, McKenzie, Barbra

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Almost four years ago the authors of this paper began exploring Balson's (1992), Rogers' (1990) and Glasser's (1988) claim that language was a key component in the classroom management process. What emerged from the respondent selection process was the discovery of a teacher who had a very different approach to classroom management and teaching in general. As a result of having never received any formal instruction in classroom management this teacher had embarked on a developing his own approach using non-verbal cues and humor as deliberate tool of 'sculpting' the class into a cohesive and cooperative unit. Rather than being an entity in itself and a primary element of concern, for this teacher optimal classroom management is simply a bi-product of engaging children in an ebb and flow of what he terms 'the mental gymnastics of the classroom". This session will detail the broader components of his belief system and the ensuing 'language in action' that emerged after extensive video taping and interviews with both the teacher and his students. In more specific terms, the various forms of humor and repeated patterns of interaction used to create a highly integrated set of interpersonal and collective relationships will also be discussed.