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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Class clown and court jester: a case study approach to the tradition of the fool Chevreau, David


Though he is well known, the Class Clown is not particularly well understood. With the exception of one quantitative study by Damingo and Purkey (1978), no significant research has been written on this witty character. The educational community has viewed the Class Clown by and large as an under-achieving student who, in his efforts to get attention, is a disruptive force in the classroom. As such, his behaviour, though often enormously funny, is a threat to the conformity and stability that good classroom discipline demands. There is, however, another way of looking at the Class Clown. In light of the historical and literary traditions of the Fool found in ancient and mediaeval societies, the Class Clown has a very important role to play in modern classrooms. His ambiguous nature, his role as a perturber of social order, and his perspective as a detached observer set him apart to be not just the humorist, but also the critic, and the sage—even in his adolescence. Through the narrative of a case study approach, one single life story of a Class Clown is examined. This prototypical case study is offered with the intent of furthering research on the Class Clown.

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