I’m writing this blog during State Education Week in my Australian home state of Queensland, on the eve of what we celebrate here as World Teachers Day, a noticeboard outside a school having caught my eye.
It read ‘Know play, know learning. No play, no learning’.
Such a brilliant summary of the neuroscience linking stress and learning.
And yes, a brilliant case for why there’s a place for laughter wellbeing techniques – based on the platform of Laughter Yoga – in classrooms (from kindy through to university) and indeed school staffrooms too!
The reality is that performance-based learning environments—in which the expectation of gold stars and As are everything—aren’t good for students of any age. The body and brain responding to a primal ‘fight or flight’ reaction, awash with neural and hormonal responses that were fine when Stone Age man faced a huge animal and life was truly in jeopardy, is a rather big overreaction to a test.
Yes, the body is stimulated—to run! It’s not stimulated to learn or at least to lay that learning into deeper memory storage.
And no child or adult needs a body perpetually flooded with adrenaline or cortisol. It’s just not healthy.
Playfulness is healthy. Laughing is healthy and natural. Laughter and playfulness can reduce anxiety and make students more receptive to learning.
Teachers know that. It’s the system they operate in (and sometimes the parents of the children) demanding something more.
To the teachers of Queensland, pat yourself on the back. Give yourself a hug and laugh out loud.
Know laughter, know learning. Very good, very good, YAY!
(c) Heather Joy Campbell 2017
Founder of The Happydemic, Heather Joy Campbell is a Certified Laughter Yoga Teacher and Laughter Ambassador of Laughter Yoga International. Based in Brisbane, Australia, Heather Joy delivers professional laughter wellbeing workshops, seminars and laughter leader training across Queensland and runs a weekly suburban laughter club as a community give-back.