Film enjoyment can be contagious, applying this research to the classroom

Reading over at Slashdot.org and the original article at
ScienceDaily it appears that film enjoyment can be contagious:

Over the course of the film, movie-watchers influence one another and
gradually synchronize their emotional responses. This mutual mimicry
also affects each participant’s evaluation of the overall experience
— the more in sync we are with the people around us, the more we like
the movie.

Can this research be applied to the classroom? We’ve all taught at least
one lesson where it seems like everything clicked. The students were
engaged, on task, and excited. Even the most prepared teacher can have a
lesson go south, but it appears that a lesson might be saved by
“groupthink”. By slowly bringing the class on task, it can cause a
snowball effect, not only increasing the enjoyment of the students but
also increasing their retention.

I’m reminded of this post by Miguel Guhlin

In my early years of working with adult learners, I facilitated a
workshop that was everyone’s nightmare class–a cafeteria technology
inservice. In the morning, provide inspiring words about using
technology. In the afternoon, hands-on tutorial. The morning went well
since we had cooperative grouping, activities, etc. The afternoon was
focused on how-to, but I had some physical education coaches that
whipped out newspapers. I was supremely irritated and felt powerless.
It was my first solo workshop for the Education Service Center, and I
wasn’t sure what to do…if I’d been working as a school district
facilitator, I know exactly what I would have done–I’d asked them to
leave. Instead, I put up with them.

Although a teacher can’t “fire” their students, a teacher needs to be
aware of the negative influence those off-task students are having on
the rest of the class.

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