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Teaching Strategies for Using Humor in the Classroom

Janelle Cox

How many times have you heard your students say, “School is not fun!”? As much as you’d like to think your students are having a great time learning, that is not always the case. That’s why it’s so important to not only come up with engaging teaching strategies to inspire your students to learn, but also to use teaching strategies that bring humor and laughter into the classroom. While you may not be a trained comedian, you can still create an enjoyable atmosphere that all students want to be in. Here are a few reasons why you need to bring humor into your classroom, as well as a few teaching strategies to help you implement humor into your lessons.

Teaching Strategies: 5 Reasons to Bring Laughter into the Classroom

Laughter brings joy, and when students are smiling and laughing, then they are engaged. Here are a few reasons why you need to bring humor into your classroom.

You’ll Become More Likable

If you struggle with getting and keeping your students’ attention, then you need to add a little humor into your lessons. As soon as you do, you’ll instantly become more likeable. While you may be thinking, “I’m not here to be my students’ friend,” it’s not about being a friend. It’s about having the ability to be likeable enough that students want to listen to you when you talk. When you’re likable, students want to be around you which gives you the power to be a great influence on them.

It Eases Classroom Tension

Humor immediately helps to ease any tension in the room. As soon you as make a joke or do something to make the students laugh, you’ll instantly see the tension disappear. Many classrooms are filled with anxious or rambunctious students, or students who are irritable or uptight. Laughter will help bring more joy to the classroom quite quickly.

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It’s Simple to Do

Implementing humor in the classroom or any lesson is easy to do. Even if you’re not naturally funny, your students will appreciate your effort for trying. Read from a joke book, do a silly dance, or tell a funny story -- that’s all it takes to bring a little laughter to the classroom.

It Helps to Reach All Students

Humor has a way of bringing people together, and can help you reach the students who you thought were unreachable. It has the power to help you connect with all students, as well as the ability to help peers connect with each other.

It Motivates Students

Humor can help motivate the unmotivated, as well as be a great motivator for students to behave better. Students who tend to get in, trouble will not want to miss out when everyone is having a good time and laughing.

Teaching Strategies for Using Humor

Humor makes people feel good, and can have a major role in making students more receptive to learning when they’re in a humorous atmosphere. Here are a few teaching strategies to help you create a fun learning environment.

Utilize the Class Clown

Instead of punishing the student who is always trying to make their classmates laugh when they are supposed to be working, try giving them an appropriate outlet to be funny. For example, if you know the class clown has a way with words, then instead of you reading aloud to students, have them read aloud. By letting the student provide the humor, you are not only giving the class clown an appropriate outlet to be funny, but also providing all students with a little fun and laughter.

Lighten Up and Laugh

Teachers don’t have to always be “On” -- it’s OK to laugh. If you make a mistake or a lesson fails, don’t get upset and start yelling about it, laugh about it. As soon as you learn to not take everything so seriously, you will immediately have lightened up your classroom and made it more comfortable for students to be in.

Create Humorous Lessons

If you want a “Lesson to remember,” then you must make it a humorous one. The more comedy and laugher you impart in your lessons, the more memorable they’ll be. Have students put on a comical skit about the novel they are reading or create an iMovie on the classroom tablet. These lessons will not only be fun and engaging, but they’ll help to create valuable bonds between the students.

Build Humorous Thinking

In order to bring laughter into the classroom, you must build humorous thinking among your students. One way you can do this is by showing them things that are funny. For example, you can show them a funny movie or cartoon, a silly joke in the newspaper or in a book, or a humorous photograph. This will help start the conversation about what is funny and what is not, as well as why somethings are funny to some people and not to others. Once they get the hang of it, it’ll be easier for them to build creative and humorous thinking into the classroom.

Dedicate Comedy Sessions

An easy way to bring more humor into the classroom is to dedicate a day or time when students can just have some fun. Have “Fun Friday” where students can watch silly movies, read funny books, share hysterical stories or put on a comedy skit for their classmates. These comedy sessions will be the highlight of your students’ week.

When implementing these teaching strategies for using humor in the classroom, remember the lesson learned is the experience students remember. When you look for ways to implement laughter into your lessons or just your day, you can guarantee that your students will enjoy themselves.

How do you use teaching strategies to bring humor into your classroom? Please share your thoughts about this topic in the comment section below, we’d love to hear from you.


Janelle Cox is an education writer who uses her experience and knowledge to provide creative and original writing in the field of education. Janelle holds Masters of Science in Education from the State University of New York College at Buffalo. She is a contributing writer to TeachHUB.com, TeachHUB Magazine, and Hey Teach. She was also the Elementary Education Expert for About.com for five years. You can follow her on Twitter @empoweringed, on Facebook at Empowering K12 Educators, or contact her at Janellecox78@yahoo.com.