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Sense of Humor in Education

Updated on January 21, 2016
Dr Vishal Varia profile image

Dr. Varia, Ph.D., in education is making his educational research and contributions to ease the work of teachers and students.

There's no laughter in school

Education now and then

Modern day education is far different from what it used to be in old times. Not going to far in the history but just comparing the 19th century teaching with 21st century teaching, we see a drastic difference in approaches and talents of students and teachers. The expectation of parents from their children as students and that from the teachers has changed a lot and is continuously modifying.

We have often heard that the teacher of earlier generation used to punish their students hard if they made a mistake. They used to ask the students to bent on their knees for long duration, beat with stick on palm or knuckles, ask students to run on ground, etc. Such practices now a day is considered as crime where corporal punishment is banned. Media is often behind such teachers and schools to look for such negligence and then make the most of it. In short, a teacher’s position has become miserable due to the restrictions on certain punishments that have been incorporated upon teachers. As they say “Spare the Rod and Spoil the Child”, taking away sticks from the hands of teachers has forced our police department to be stricter and often on patrol than before.

Well, I am not in any favor of corporal punishment, neither do I favor harsh punishments to students, my only view point is that because of prohibitions on certain punishments, the fear of getting punished if found doing wrong has gone absent. Students who used to be disciplined out of such fear have become reckless and careless for their own development and teachers are now not in position to maneuver them due to strict policies of modern day education. In present times we cannot afford to have rules of the past. So, in other words, the present day education policy with changes has to be accepted and carried on with some solution. This is where HUMOR comes to rescue. The sense of humor in a teacher can effectively control the entire class and the naughty most students get trapped in the pun used by the teacher.

A sense of humor makes the whole environment lighter and comfortable for everyone to learn and progress. How can we incorporate sense of humor in class? Let’s explore some areas where we try out the silliest yet effective techniques to have humor with wisdom in the class.

The Class Entry

A general good idea is to enter the class and make the mood lighter by cracking a joke for the situation of some funny news of the day. Imagine, the teacher entering the class and mentioning he crossed over a six legged animal while on the way to school but the difference was that the six legs were not of the same animal. This is a general anatomy, where one can use any analogy or event that took place and can be uttered in front of the class without hesitation.

Within the Lecture

In a high school classroom you will find mischievous students, pranksters, those who do gossips, etc. who appear to be innocent but are quite notorious. A sense of humor can help prevent a teacher from losing temper and having loss of impression. Students often ask question to solve their curiosity. Many a times this interrupts the class and session. However, it such interrupts are genuine then the teacher will always be ready to answer it, but many a times those interrupts are posed to just pass time of the lecture. In such case, having sense of humor, can make the all the difference. I do remember a professor who used to have a peculiar habit of nabbing such non genuine queries or discussion but sarcastically asking “ramu pls listen to me first” or “ramkali, zara sun to lo…” This way he could easily complete the topic of his explanation and still handle the interrupt generated.

For Imparting Homework

Sense of humor while announcing the homework includes all kind of funny punishments that can be given incase the student fails to submit the homework on time. For example, the teacher can announce that if the student fails to show the homework in due time then such student should be ready for a creative punishment in the class. Such creative punishment can be asking the student to write out a dialogue of a movie due to which the homework suffered, or asking the student to write the same homework in flipped way in the notebook.

While announcing test or scores

I do remember one of our teachers, Mr. Ambrose, who used to call out the scores of the test in a funny way as if he was announcing the numbers in the housie game. This not only enlightened the class but also sarcastically humiliated those who failed to attain good scores. He used to announce the test in a way that students would not forget it and would easily remember to study for the test in order to avoid the sarcasm. He used to say that this time it is going to be the time for the Elephants, What he meant was that those who scored 8 (Eight) or less be careful as they could easily score 0(zero). Thus such humor can instill carefulness amongst the students for remembering the test schedules and prepare for the same.

Remarks on test papers

A funny and effective way to teach a lesson to the low scorers could be to write a funny comment in the remark. As if they could have scored passing marks if they had focused on questions rather than fearing for the performance. Students scoring 0(Zero) still could be given 10 out 10 for keeping the space clean and then put a comment that it won't lead them to a better future. Scolding or punishing the student will not work if the student has got discouraged from making the effort. A positive and humoristic remark will encourage such students to put in some more efforts next time.

Making a Presentation

It is advisable to involve puzzles or funny cartoons in between a lengthy presentation to avoid students from drawing their attention away from it. For example, while explaining computer networks, a teacher could pose a cartoon where virus from adjacent PC is making some communication using the network. Likewise involving slides with funny characters or silly one liner would keep the class alive and alert. A purposeful mistake can also be involved to check whether the class is still alive and alert. Videos can bring humor into the classroom, teacher Marlo Warburton creates a math song and explains how silliness works to reinforce basic information.

On the visit to educational places other than school

This is the best possible event where a teacher can mingle along with students and can cover up if any harshness may have had to be practiced in class on one or more students. The first thing for this is to be in a jovial mood and if need to pass comments then it should not be on others but on the self. Having lighter moods in picnics or educational tour will enhance the curiosity of the students which in turn is helpful to learn better. If possible, you can ask students to take a turn to share jokes or funny stories while traveling to destination.

Class gatherings like assembly or recess

One can often have jovial sessions in the assembly. I do remember our Mass PT sessions where we would have a round of jokes and laughter after we practiced the different exercise. One or two students will take the center stage and will perform mimicry or crack jokes on different issues. In such session we not only had physical exercise but also used to have refreshing session which would give us energy to work productively.

The School Corridor

The blank areas of the school like, assembly hall, corridor, stairs passage, etc. can be used to keep humor charts or funny cartoons. Those could be pasted ready made or can be prepared by students on a monthly basis and can be changed turn by turn. Such charts will make the strict atmosphere of school a bit lighter and will provide gap for student to get comfortable.

Likewise, there are many such areas where you can incorporate Humour in Education.

Life is not all education, goals, activities, and planning. It is also for enjoying, refreshing and merry making. In fact, one does not learn if there is no humor or enjoyment. Humor serves as a better agent for learning than fear or coercion. Not all places humor can be used, but if, teachers can make the use of Humor in Class then they will be in better position to handle the class and will always be remembered for their jovial nature.

Wish you all Happy and Stress-Free Teaching!!!

How do you apply Sense of Humour in your class or school? Please put your comments below.


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    • Dr Vishal Varia profile image

      Vishal Varia 2 years ago from Rajkot, Gujarat, India

      Hopefully, a teacher will agree to the difficulties faced in handling the class and that humor comes at an easy rescue, you shot the right joke at the right time. but for this, a teacher has to be free from mental preoccupation. What do you opine?