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Using Humor In The College Classroom To Enhance Teaching Effectiveness

by Neelam Kher

Humor is a valuable teaching tool for establishing a classroom climate conducive to learning. This article identifies opportunities for incorporating humor in the college classroom, reviews the impact of humor on learning outcomes, and suggests guidelines for the appropriate use of humor. Of particular interest is humor in “dread courses” which students may avoid due to a lack of self-confidence, perceived difficulty of the material or a previous negative experience in a content area. Appropriate and timely humor in the college classroom can foster mutual openness and respect and contribute to overall teaching effectiveness.

As institutions of higher education engage in organizational soul searching, the teaching activities of the faculty are receiving increased attention. Scholars in the field of higher education underscore the importance of effective teaching, and facilitating student learning outcomes has become a primary concern of university faculty and administrators. Well-respected scholars such as Ernest Boyer, Alexander Astin, and Sylvia Grider have highlighted the need for instructional improvement in higher education in recent years. The focus on the student is a fundamental theme in instructional effectiveness (Kher, 1996).

The role of the teacher in producing student-centered learning has been the subject of considerable discussion.

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Recently Commented

  • Patric: Funny guy ^^
  • Kristen Z.: I found myself reorganizing the stuff under the kitchen sink, thoroughly cleaning the vacuum cleaner...
  • Greg: Still, it’s sometimes primarily “all about the Benjamins.” ;-)
  • Zoe: Really? Because as of January 2015 I will be limited to teaching 9 hours per semester at the community college...
  • James Dennewitz: I have wondered the same thing myself.