Teaching with Humor in Mind

The use of humor in the classroom is a necessity, I know educators are not stand up comedians and our job is not to entertain but to teach, but I am not talking only about flat out knock knock jokes type of humor, but an optimistic feeling of openness to create a “lighter” and more inviting learning environment, after all we all know a positive climate is a great way to aid memory and awareness. There are many ways in which humor can be used for example:

  • The most important for me is to laugh at yourself, as a teacher it can be hard to show your vulnerable side, but being hones and open and being able to laugh at yourself, so when doing something wrong it is ok to mention it and laugh, this makes the teacher more approachable to students.
  • Unexpected jokes or in a topic are always welcomed and it helps keep things from getting boring or stressful and in many ways can bring the lesson to life things such as:
    • Funny image accompanying the lesson: Using Memes related to the subject at hand is a great way to add some humor to the lesson. 8439323_orig
    • Funny instruction in an exam are a great way to lighten up your students in a tense moment, after all humor is the best medicine to fight stress.
    • There is no doubt that adding videos to a lesson os a great way to engage students. Adding humor to the videos might make t even more memorable.

Things to keep in mind.

Humor is not universal, and it varies from group to group, and like with everything else it is important to know your public, for example, look into what your students like, looking into specific youtubers/viner/IGmers that students follow, a movie they are all talking about, or other common place things they agree up on is a good place to start.

Another thing to consider is they type of humor, in this case it is important to note the teacher-student power structure and the age of the students, so in general dark humor is out of the question, anything controversial, morbid or cynical. Sarcastic Humor is also a “no-no” type of humor because it is usually intended to insult, and many do not understand it. “Safe” humor can be silly such as wearing a funny hat or jokes or puns related to the topic at hand.

Some resources on the benefits of Humor in the classroom:


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