The Use of Humor as a Teaching Tool in the College Classroom
Previous research reports a strong positive correlation between class attendance and student performance. Consequently, college educators, often explore innovative ways of encouraging class attendance. While no substitute for substance, humor is a teaching tool that can create a more positive, fun, interesting environment that promotes class attendance and student learning.
Despite recent widespread attention on the use of humor in our society, this paper identifies some professorial "myths" or misunderstandings about the use of humor in the classroom that continue to exist. These include I ) humor is telli ng jokes or physical comedy, 2) instructors should not try to use humor because they don' lhave anything humorous to present or they lack traini ng on the use of humor, and 3) humor wastes precious classroom Lime and is demeaning to the profession. This paper will also reveal some very real benefits of using humor in the college classroom. Some of the do's and don'ts, advantages and disadvantages of developing/using a humor philosophy or strategy i n teaching will be discussed. Different sources and/or types of humor that can be used in college teaching will be identified via some actual, specific examples. In addition, results of student surveys on the use of humor in the classroom will be presented.
This article is from NACTA Journal 44 (2000): 20. Posted with permission.