CLASS CLOWNS: TALKING OUT OF TURN WITH AN ORIENTATION TOWARD HUMOR
The classroom is a primary site for children to learn accommodation to cultural practices and norms, but also for them to develop strategies for disruption and humor while avoiding sanctions. Although the teacher has the power in the elementary classroom, there are twenty or so prospective disruptors and all sorts of possible disruptions with humorous potential at various different points in the interaction. In ther paper, the authors investigate disruptive humor in the first six years of school from the perspective of the pupil adjusting to the restrictions and possibilities of the system, rather than from the usual perspective of the teacher, who wants to control classroom behavior. They explore recorded classroom interaction to determine the types of humorous disruptions and their interactional effects, showing how pupils adjust to the conventions of classroom behavior, but also how they test the system for humorous purposes. They argue that humorous disruptions often function to assert individual identity or to create a particular class personality in the otherwise faceless group orientation of the elementary classroom.
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