Bringing Humor into ESL Classrooms: Asian Students’ Perspectives

By Yiyu Zhao and Si Fan.

Published by The Global Studies Journal

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Humor is often infused into different educational settings for different purposes like retaining students’ attention, arousing students’ interest and creating a pleasant learning climate (Englert, 2010; Garner, 2006; Jonas, 2004). However, the use of humor in language teaching varies among teachers. For some, humor plays an essential role in teaching and learning, while others downgrade its significance and humor can be seen as a distraction to serious teaching (Chapman, & Foot, 2007; Garner, 2006). This paper examines the roles of humor in various forms incorporated into English language teaching from the perspective of both teachers and students. It is based on a study which involves the participation of fifteen Asian students (Six of them were English teachers in their own countries before) from China, Japan, Korea, Malaya, India, Indonesia and Singapore in an Australian university context. These participants, with a background in teaching and/or learning English as a second language, have experienced a variety of humor, which was often introduced into their English classes. The study used a semi-structured interview format and journal writing reflecting views and experiences of participants to various forms of humor in the classroom. The study showed that humor is an important stimulus in second language learning, but its effectiveness depends on teachers’ appropriate implementation and students’ better comprehension.

Keywords: Humor, ESL Classrooms, English Language

Global Studies Journal, Volume 3, Issue 2, pp.105-116. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 629.556KB).

Yiyu Zhao

Master Student, TESOL, Faculty of Education, University of Tasmania, Launceston, Tasmania, Australia

A master student in TESOL program at the University of Tasmania.

Dr. Si Fan

PhD Student, Faculty of Education, University of Tasmania, Launceston, Tasmania, Australia

I am a PhD student at the University of Tasmania. My topic is web-based learning; however, I am also interested in teaching method and language learning.


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