A study of laughter in science lessons
Laughter is a fundamental human phenomenon. Yet there is little educational research on the potential functions of laughter on the enacted (lived) curriculum. In this study, we identify the functions of laughter in a beginning science teacher’s classroom throughout her first year of teaching. Our study shows that laughter is more than a gratuitous phenomenon. It is the result of a collective interactive achievement of the classroom participants that offsets the seriousness of science as a discipline. Laughter, whereas it challenges the seriousness of science, also includes the dialectical inversion of the challenge: it simultaneously reinforces the idea of science as serious business.