Date of Award


Access Control

Open Access

Degree Name

Art Education (K-12), M.S.Ed.


Art Education Department


Shirley Hayes

Department Home page


This qualitative action research study explored the benefits of using humor and aspects of play as teaching strategies in the art classroom. This study was conducted in a small Catholic elementary school located in Western New York. One sixth grade class, composed of nine students, participated in this study. Data was collected and analyzed a period of ten weeks. Conducted through the theory of constructivism, students were engaged and encouraged to construct deep understandings of important concepts in the art classroom through the tools of humor and play. My focus was how the students’ perceived humor and play in the classroom, how humor and play could be used to assist in instruction, and what I, and perhaps other teachers, learn from this inclusion as the art teacher. I collected data through field notes, observations, class dialogue, questionnaires, and student artwork. After consistently reading through and triangulating the data, I formed groups of categories which became my findings, which include: humor and play generate motivation and engagement in students, humor and play function as teaching tools, and kid culture is important to incorporate in the classroom.

My findings demonstrate the various benefits of using humor and the aspects of play into the art classroom. I discovered that by using these often unconventional tools to aid in classroom and curriculum construction, student engage in concepts they need to learn. In addition, through the creation of a positive and playful classroom environment, students build relationships with one another and connect through shared laughter and humor connections. As a teacher, this unit also helped me discover the importance of humor in the role of stress and anxiety relief for both students and teacher.

Included in

Art Education Commons