Title page for ETD etd-05032006-124750

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Smidl, Sarah Lynn
Author's Email Address ssmidl@vt.edu
URN etd-05032006-124750
Title Portraits of Laughter in "Kid"ergarten Children: The Giggles and Guffaws That Support Teaching, Learning, and Relationships
Degree PhD
Department Human Development
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Garrison, James W. Committee Chair
Allen, Katherine R. Committee Member
Benson, Mark J. Committee Member
Hill, Lynn T. Committee Member
Stremmel, Andrew J. Committee Member
  • laughter
  • humor
  • relationships
  • kindergarten
  • children
Date of Defense 2006-04-18
Availability unrestricted
The purpose of this qualitative study was to focus on the laughter-provoking events and situations that supported the teaching, learning, and relationships of 13 kindergarten children, one teacher, and one researcher in a public school classroom in Southwestern Virginia. This study drew on principles from portraiture, ethnography, and case studies, and primarily utilized observation, fieldnotes, informal interviews, and audiotape to document daily events and conversations.

Discussion of the importance of laughter for these children, teacher, and researcher begins with three short case study portraits on different children, including how their varying personalities and interests prompted me to use laughter with them in varying ways. Next, the importance and meanings of laughter in the group is given focus, specifically the daily morning group where the entire class came together at once with the classroom teacher. Next, four themes that surfaced early in my research that were filled with laughter are portrayed, primarily how they demonstrated continuity throughout the semester. Then, the stimuli in the daily curriculum or discourse that were laughable are described, with specific focus on how laughter can be important to, or help facilitate learning. Last, I will summarize my findings to discuss the practical applications of laughter and humor for the teacher.

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