LD@3 – The Comedy of Learning Development

March 16 @ 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm

There is a significant amount of literature that looks at the connection between stand-up comedy and teaching (Kaplan and Pascoe 1977; Weaver and Cottrell 1988; Kher, Molstad, and Donahue 1999; Norton, 2001; Baumgartner and Morris 2008; Beavers, 2011). Much of the literature has focused on humour; although it has been beneficial to know that using humour “can deliver a jolt of insight and excitement” and provide the “hooks” that will capture the audience’s interest, I would like to take a broader look at the forms or ‘kata’ of the art of stand-that can inform our practice. This is not an entirely unique venture; there are significant similarities between stand-up comedy and teaching. Chief among these similarities is that “only the teacher and the stand-up comedian rely on the continuous interaction between themselves and the people in front of them” and that both professions “will always acknowledge the specificity of the particular audience in front of them” (McCarron and Savin-Baden, 2008, p. 357). Drawing from the analysis of stand-up comedy, this dialogic session will look at various aspects of stand-up comedy and relate them to our teaching practices. More specifically, I will relate stand-up comedy to the in-class session, which has increasingly become the main activity of learning developers.

Presenter: Ryan Arthur (Birkbeck College)

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