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Do you use humour in the classroom?

Three school girls laughingIn this post, Jeremy Taylor, a freelance writer and teacher trainer based in Czech Republic, explores the benefits of using humour in the classroom to engage students and improve their learning.

Do you have a good sense of humour? Do you use your humour in the classroom? A class that is laughing and having fun is a relaxed class and more receptive to learning, as I have found over 25 years of teaching. Humour is a very difficult thing to get right but it is a wonderful addition to the classroom. It is a useful tool to engage your learners and make your lessons (even) more interesting. But also:

  • Students are also likely to repeat jokes and humorous stories they have heard.
  • If they know they will be rewarded with a laugh, they are more likely to be motivated to read.
  • Jokes tend to be short – so can be enjoyed by even the weakest students.
  • Jokes are memorable.
  • You can learn a lot about a nation’s culture through its humour.

Of course when using humour you should be able to laugh with your students not at them.  Laughing at your students is horribly unprofessional and I’ve only done it once in my career.

Is it possible to use jokes in the classroom? It definitely is, but you need to decide whether the joke is cultural appropriate and also whether the joke will be understood by your students. Jokes that rely on a play on words are unlikely to be understood. There are lots of jokes for children like this.

“Where do you take a horse when he is sick?”

“To horsepital!”

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