Teaching with Humor

Guidelines for Teaching with Humor

Adding humor in teaching is important to build productive engagement and facilitate learning. Whether it is a one-on-one class or a group class, it is important to add a bit of humor to the class. The teacher should start by using oneself as an example. It is an indirect way for the teacher to say to the student to treat the teacher with respect but not be afraid of the teacher and to focus on the learnings and take the failures in a healthy and fun way. Fear of the teacher is not the best way for the student to learn. Humor can relax students and help them to focus on the topic being taught. Humor is also another way for the teacher to indirectly say to the student – we all make mistakes and that is okay and we’re not being judged here.

Guidelines for teaching with humor

Humor shouldn’t be hurtful or offensive

When considering the use of humor an instructor needs to consider the subject, the tone, the intent, and the situation, and the audience. Before using humor, it is wise to ask, “Will this use of humor alienate or embarrass any of my students?” If the answer is “yes,” try a different strategy to get the point across.

Choosing the subject of humor

Common sense and intuition can help us understand the experience of the student so far. It is always better to stick to humor within the context of the subject being taught. For example, if you’re teaching mathematics and you draw a circle, you can laugh at yourself (as a teacher) saying it looks more like an oval-shape than a circle. Similarly, if you’re teaching programming and if the student draws or makes a sprite, then you can say something about it that is funny. It is better for the teacher to always make fun of their own work first and then once the student is laughing, it is better to start involving a bit of humor. 

The humor in class has to be relevant

Humor in the classroom is most effective when linked to concepts being studied. Humor that educates will help you become a more effective instructor for all students. Humor for the sake of introducing humor will be found out and won’t be appreciated by students.

When the lessons become dense, humor can act like a glue between the teacher and the student. Be aware of the dynamics between your personality and your use of humor, and the personalities of your students.

Class Management

Most teachers lose their flow and get a bit annoyed when the student interrupts to take a nature break or for some other reason. This can also be a hint that the student is not enjoying these classes and the teacher needs to take that as an input and change the delivery style and teaching methodologies.

Acting Out

If you’re good at it, you can also act out. Like, choose a favorite character from the student’s experience and act out – talk like that character or something like that. But, it is important that you’re good at it, as it can bounce back if you’re not good at it.

Simple Quizzes, Tests, and Rewards

Some teachers organize tests or quizzes among the students – not the regular academic tests, but participation points or who is answering the questions asked and all the students maintain a points table for the same. This helps to increase participation, active listening, and also improves cross-learning in the classroom.

Becoming a funnier teacher is possible for everyone. However, it does take a little convincing and practice to do it. There is nothing more entertaining and captivating than a teacher teaching with humor.

Hope this list is useful to point you in the direction of teaching with humor, thank you.

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