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Dave Keeling

Laughter and Learning - The Neuroscience of Humour - Building Self-Confidence

It has to be said, 'stand-up educationalist' and self-confessed ginger, Dave Keeling is one of Independent Thinking’s longest serving, most in-demand and funniest speakers.

He has quite simply honed the art of making them laugh, making then think and, in this way, making everything different to a very fine art indeed. In doing so, has transformed so many lives. And usually for the better too.

Whether it’s leading a session for a hall-full of recalcitrant teenagers, a full hall of equally recalcitrant teachers or a keynote session for school leaders looking for the cure to recalcitrance in their school, Dave never fails to leave delegates happy, moved, less stressed and feeling a great deal more happy and motivated by the job in front of them.

He has an acting background and first came to our attention many years ago through the work he was doing with fellow Independent Thinking Associate Roy Leighton in schools nationally. Here they were using what is called Forum Theatre to work with young people who were presenting difficult behaviours in school. It was very powerful, life-changing stuff. It still is.

Recent titles include:

  • Education - It's a serious business
  • Best job in the world? You're having a laugh!
  • Motivation, inspiration and feeling good - the power of humour in the classroom

Since that time Dave has remained in our best-selling Associate list, often going back to schools year after year to work with young people on learning, motivation and making the most of their time at school as well as wowing new audiences of teachers, school leaders, parents and governors.

As well as contributing to a number of our collaborative books for the Independent Thinking Press, Dave has also written Independent Thinking on Laughter detailing the many things we can learn from the worlds of stand-up and improv to help improve our teaching, as well as A Rocket Up Your Class, a book full of practical ideas to bring energy, humour and laughter to any classroom in a way that advocates of traditional ‘back-to-basics’ teaching would hate with a passion.

Apart from being six foot two and ginger (although, in his own words, ‘the flame is going out’ these days), what makes Dave stand out is the way in which he can cause people to change their attitudes, behaviours and habits when it comes to teaching, learning and leadership by simply being incredibly funny.

He combines this lightening mind with wisdom about human nature, relationships and learning in a way that wins over 99.9% of all audiences. (There was that one teacher who commented on his feedback form that Dave ‘had a face I would never tire of slapping').

Talking of faces, Dave has one that you might recognise from such adverts as the 2013 Asda Easter commercial (he was 'the dad') or the 2014 Sainsbury's Christmas commercial (again, 'the dad', safe pair of hands and all that). He’s also one of the very few people we know who has been in Coronation Street, EastEnders and Downton Abbey.

On top of this acting career which also takes in stage (Blood Brothers) and screen (London to Brighton), Dave is also a stand-up comedian and a versatile performer last seen with a mullet at various 02 venues across the country playing an 80s ‘wheels of steel’ hitlist to large groups of drunken hen parties celebrating the bride's second wedding.

If you are looking for a thoroughly memorable and entertaining speaker with an important message and track record of taking people’s brains for a walk, then Dave Keeling is the six foot ginger stand up-comic you have been looking for all your life. Seriously.

The most pleasurable time I've had during a guest speakers time

Thoroughly enjoyed this. A welcome afternoon session - light hearted but the message was clear

Excellent - Not laughed so much in ages but he got over some incredibly important points

Brilliant and really funny. Wish I'd heard him speak before

Great laughter and smiles whilst providing thought provoking responses to engage our pupils and keep them sparkling. Bring on the new term!

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