This paper is a result of a comparison of two surveys concerning the use of humor in the classroom. One questionnaire was mailed to 365 university teachers in fourteen Arkansas universities and had a 35 percent response rate. The second questionnaire polled over two hundred juniors/senior university students who had attended 65 different institutions and had a 100 percent response rate. The professors and students had similar opinions on the use of humor to relieve stress, to gain attention, and to create a healthy learning environment; over 80 percent of both groups agreed that these uses of humor were appropriate. In addition, both groups did not believe humor should be used to embarrass students, to intimidate students, or to retaliate against students; all three items received a minimum of 70 percent disapproval by both groups. The item with greatest variance between the two groups concerned the use of humor to handle an unpleasant situation with 59 percent of students thinking this was an appropriate use of humor compared to only 15 percent of faculty. In addition, there was significant variation in how teachers report using humor to motivate, to provoke thinking, and to reinforce knowledge with how students perceive humor has been used for these purposes.
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