Humour in Teaching English

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Category: English Composition

Date Submitted: 01/08/2011 12:17 PM

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Today, with a much more diversified student population in higher education, we need to be constantly on the outlook for variety in our methods of teaching. If we are to fully engage students to be actively involved in their own learning, good teaching involves getting most students to use higher cognitive level processes [4].

Element of humour should always be present in teaching English.

Jokes are a rich resource of language patterns and simultaneously they are connected with cultural background. Humour is also a very effective way to help students remember key concepts and structures.

Humour can be one of the hardest aspects of a foreign language for students to understand, but at the same time it is also one of the most rewarding.

Humour is the best physical exercise - laughter relaxes all facial muscles, the body receives more oxygen, and the breathing deepens automatically [11].

Humorous activities can be used as an introduction to a lesson; a starting point for a discussion, creative activity or project work; a means of help to relax the students and prepare them for more serious work; a device which enables students to concentrate their attention to one topic and a pleasant conclusion of a lesson.

And what is more rewarding for a teacher than to see the students leaving the classroom with a smile on their faces and at the same time knowing they learned new vocabulary, structure and function? [13]

1. Humour as a teaching technique

Peter Medgyes, Director of the Centre for English Teacher Training at Eotvos Lorand University in Budapest, thinks that everybody has a sense of humour, and that many would rather confess to murder than to a lack of it. He is interested in the question: why is it that course book authors pull such a serious face? [4].

The value of humour in the teaching/learning process is reasonably well recognised particularly in the establishment of a positive...