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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

Laugh It Up: It's Good Medicine

Telling a joke to the class -- or letting a student play stand-up comic -- is a fast way to connect with the heart.
By Michael Pritchard
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Class Clown:

Pritchard mixes life lessons with belly laughs.

Credit: Edutopia

Kids are smart -- they love to laugh. And those moments when we laugh with them at life are often the best teachers. Humor is hope, and humor is laughter. It offers us a chance to be connected to kids' hearts and gives strength to their spirit to go on. Hope can teach faster than anything. It lets them know you care about them.

Credit: Edutopia

This isn't a product we're making in school -- it's a human being. To teach kids, you have to be a person who connects to their hearts. Just because you grow old doesn't mean you stop laughing. You don't stop playing, either. Share a joke with your students each day. Spend time with their hearts.

Michael Pritchard is a juvenile probation officer turned stand-up comic turned youth counselor who has also produced a number of series for PBS on youth guidance. For more of the interview from which this excerpt is derived, check out the Edutopia article "The Heart of Learning: The Value of Cultivating Emotional Intelligence" and the Edutopia video Michael Pritchard: Lessons from the Heart.

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