Humor in the classroom

Nov 10, 2018

How do you behave when some incidents supposed to be serious turn to jokes that evoke laughter?
Sometimes incidents in the classroom turn to jokes although those concerned, whether the teacher or the learner, is not aware and makes the situation funnier. We often hear words from our learners that they like their teacher because he makes them laugh, he is not boring, he tells funny stories and they have no room to sleep in his class. So there, we may not agree totally but all learning begins at the feeling level. Learners accept what they feel disposed to accept, and they reject what they feel disposed to reject.
If their attitude is positive, they tend to embrace what they hear. If their attitude is negative, they tend to walk away from it. If they have negative feelings about you, they will reject what you are saying because they reject you. But if they like you, and if they know you are interested in them, you can get them to do the most incredible things in all the world.
Sense of humor? It is one of the indicators in the observation sheet of our school heads, remember? How is your rating? Educators consider it probably the best way to catch the learners’ attention, to encourage participation, to build rapport, to cheer them, and to make them happy. You might say, “I just can’t get these kids excited!” But I don’t believe that. Our problem is that we are not willing enough to put our creative hooks into the areas of their interests and abilities. The reason: because we are thinking of other things that our department demands from us. The tedious lesson planning, item analysis, documentation of every activity implemented including other rush reports to be submitted occupy most of our time. The result: our learners are less prioritized.
We cannot deny though that there are personalities who seem to be funny by just the looks and they can easily make people laugh. They are entertaining with less effort. But how about those like me who need extra effort to make the class alive? Well, we have to learn. Let us try to motivate our learners in a funny but constructive way by blending related jokes congruent to the lesson. We have to develop our sense of humor, open the door for improvement and try to be more creative in making comments. Let us practice making the right choice of taking things positively rather than easily angered. Sometimes being appreciative of our learners’ contribution is a good start, and then laugh when they laugh is next.
Before the 20th century, humor in the classroom is unprofessional. Some of that thinking still lingers today. Humor may not cause learning but it does help create conditions conducive to it. It doesn’t make hard content easy, but it can make learning feel easier. Humor helps learners retain content and it makes material memorable. It connects teachers and learners. So may you find teaching exciting and fulfilling? Remember, exceptional teachers are fun-loving and joyful. Be one. URSULA R. CHENO, Camp 4 Elementary School, Tuba, Benguet

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