Queen's University

Windsor teachers' Disney trip prank backfires: Queen's University expert

2013-02-27

Queen’s University education expert Trevor Strong – who specializes in the use of humour in classrooms – is available to talk about a teachers’ prank that backfired at a school in Windsor, Ont.

In a bid to teach a student a lesson, the teachers convinced a class of grade 8 students that they would be heading to Disney World for their year-end trip. After an elaborate set-up, the students later learned they would be heading to a Windsor bowling alley instead. The ruse humiliated the students and angered their parents.

“There’s a big difference between laughing with and laughing at, especially when there is a power imbalance,” says Mr. Strong, explaining that people often underestimate how powerful humour can be. “The ancient Greeks were terrified of being laughed at and even had laws against it. It’s really quite a recent development that we view humour as a positive force – and it can backfire so easily.”

Mr. Strong is a member of the popular comedy group Arrogant Worms. He is currently completing a Master’s degree from Queen’s University’s Faculty of Education where he is working on a handbook to help teachers make better use of humour in the classroom.

Mr. Strong is available for interviews between 12:15-12:50 and after 3:30 pm on Friday.

To arrange an interview, please contact communication officers Michael Onesi (office: 613.533.6000 ext. 77513,michael.onesi@queensu.ca) or Anne Craig (office: 613-533-2877, Anne.Craig@queensu.ca) at Queen’s University News and Media Services Department in Kingston, Ont., Canada.

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Last updated at 9:02 am EDT, Wed April 16, 2014
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