Appropriate and relevant humour in the university classroom: Cover Image

Appropriate and relevant humour in the university classroom:
Appropriate and relevant humour in the university classroom:

insights from teachers and students

Author(s): Farhana Bakar
Subject(s): Social Sciences, Language and Literature Studies, Education, Foreign languages learning, Theoretical Linguistics, Applied Linguistics, Sociology, Pragmatics, Sociolinguistics, Adult Education, Higher Education , Applied Sociology
Published by: Krakowskie Towarzystwo Popularyzowania Wiedzy o Komunikacji Językowej Tertium
Keywords: appropriate humour; relevant humour; humour; teaching and learning; higher education

Summary/Abstract: When used for the purpose of teaching and learning, humour must be relevant and appropriate to the context. However, what constitutes appropriate and relevant humour is unclear. Past studies have focussed mostly on classifying appropriate and relevant types of humour. Additionally, students’ and teachers’ perceptions of what these constitutes are likely to differ, meaning that the effectiveness of the humour used by teachers may vary depending on the context. With this in mind, it is important to consider teachers’ and students’ perceptions of the appropriateness and relevance of humour. For this paper, five award-winning teachers and 10 students were interviewed regarding their perceptions and experiences of the use of humour in university teaching. Four themes were identified that relate to teachers’ and students’ perceptions regarding the appropriateness of humour: Appropriate humour is relevant humour; Appropriate humour happens at a suitable time and in a suitable manner; Appropriate humour enhances teachers’ credibility; and Inappropriate humour is disrespectful humour. Three themes were identified related to the relevance of humour: Relevant humour is related to the learning content; Relevant humour is related to daily experiences in life; and Irrelevant humour is humour that students do not understand. On the basis of this study, this paper offers pedagogical suggestions for teachers who wish to use humour effectively by taking into consideration what humour is considered appropriate/inappropriate and relevant/irrelevant.

  • Issue Year: 7/2019
  • Issue No: 4
  • Page Range: 137-152
  • Page Count: 16
  • Language: English