Laughing Your Way to Academic Success: Can Laughter Impact Learning and Well-Being in the Law School Classroom and are there Cross-Cultural Differences?
15 Pages Posted: 31 Jul 2020 Last revised: 7 May 2021
Date Written: May 5, 2020
The following work is a draft to be published in the Conn. L. Rev. Online (forthcoming May 2021).
Unfortunately, the truth is that law students are unhappy and can suffer from anxiety and depression at unusually high rates. Is there anything we, as professors, can do to help with that? While what transpires in the classroom is only a small piece of the puzzle that forms a student’s psychological well-being, the answer is we can do our part in the classroom to not only relieve student anxiety but improve learning in the process. After briefly examining the findings about the mental health of law students, this article reviews: (1) research on whether humor in the classroom can improve learning; (2) research on whether humor in the classroom can decrease student anxiety; (3) research on whether there are gender differences associated with the use of humor; and (4) research on whether there are cross-cultural differences in the perception and effectiveness of humor with a special focus on China.
Keywords: laughter and learning, cross-cultural differences in humor, gender differences in humor, legal education, classroom learning
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