It is well documented that humour promotes learning and in fact it can improve learner performance. In last month’s blog, we discover that it also lightens the mood and injects some relief into a stressful schedule or the daily routine. However, the thought of this may make you feel decidedly uncomfortable. Do teachers now have to become proficient in comedy? How to be Funny is certainly not one of the subjects offered in any educational qualification! You might be thinking that you certainly don’t have time to include another thing into your already chock-a-block full schedule. Cool your jets… it’s really not that difficult. Let’s explore this topic a little further.
Why should you incorporate humour in your classroom?
It creates a positive environment
A positive environment will boost learning – and more importantly – the retention of information. Research reveals that humour activates dopamine, which boosts learning and motivation. Psychology Today calls laughter “the natural high”. We are not talking about humour that is just plain silly, demeaning or unrelated, but rather appropriate, topic-related humour.
It reduces stress
Are the exams looming? Is the workload heavy? Laughter is a great coping mechanism and will help your learners to relax and decrease stress levels.
It builds community
Laughter bonds us together and builds friendships. There’s just nothing that compares to sharing a good laugh with someone. It breaks done the barriers and creates good memories.
How to integrate laughter into your learners’ (and your!) day
There’s no need to unpack your clown suit and red nose! Being funny is not a prerequisite to incorporate humour in the classroom. Rather see humour as a useful tool to help accomplish your learning outcomes. Implement some of these ideas and you will see those smiles on their dials.
😊 Laugh at yourself – when you mess, tell your learners and have a good laugh. You will show your human side and be liked for your honesty.
😊 Have a “Funny Quotes Board” in your classroom. Encourage your learners to participate by bringing funny quotes to post on the board.
😊 Find ways to incorporate relevant humour in your lessons. For example, when teaching vocabulary, you may like to throw in some examples of misspelt words or funny signs you’ve found on the internet.
😊 Add humorous stickers to tests or homework assignments.
😊 Encourage humorous thinking by putting up a picture and asking learners to come up with a funny caption.
😊 Use funny videos, cartoons or pictures to make a point or enhance a topic. There’s something funny to be found on every subject.
😊 Go weird and have a funny hat day or something similar. Or even weirder (and funnier) just you wear a funny hat and say nothing!
😊 Use some colloquial words. Bust out the “Hey Dude, what are you doing?” and see your class crack up with laughter. Students think teachers are stuck in the dinosaur age so your attempts at being cool will be funny.
Learning is the priority and humour is a catalyst. Keep this in mind, be yourself and use what is comfortable for you and you will find that school will be fun! How are you going to integrate humour into your classroom? Go for it!