Why Humor Should be Part of Every Classroom

Why Humor Should be a Part of Every Classroom

Most people don’t think of school as a place for comedy.  However, many of us remember our class clowns, especially those with dynamic personalities. They often made class quite interesting.  For teachers, however, a class clown can be a nemesis who disrupts class and derails lessons.  Fortunately, not every teacher feels that way. 

In a recent NPR podcast, educator/host Lee Hale asked, “What if we looked at class clowns differently?  What if, instead of seeing them as a nuisance, we saw them as gifted?” Thankfully, there are teachers, like Leann Ferguson, who see their potential.  She observed how her nemesis could command an audience, so she enlisted his help to keep the class on track. 

That’s good news because students often remember things that make them laugh.  In their book, If They’re Laughing, They Just Might Be Listening authors Elaine Lundberg and Cheryl Miller Thurston describe how a classroom filled with laughter is a classroom with positive energy.  They share a number of reasons why humor and laughter should be part of every classroom including: 

Humor motivates and energizes.  When a teacher creates a learning environment where humor is welcome and even encouraged, students often try harder. 

Humor gives students a “hook” on which to trigger recall.  When we learn, we link new information with old information.  We relate the new to something we already know, in order to fit it into our world and make sense of it.  Humor can help us make that link.

Humor encourages creativity.  Because humor often comes from the unexpected, it surprises us with a new perspective, giving us new ways of looking at familiar objects and events. 

Laughter helps build relationships.  Laughter brings people together, both physically and psychologically. 

Laughter helps show that mistakes are a normal part of learning.  When teachers laugh at their mistakes, they show students that mistakes are not the end of the world. 

Laughter feels good.  Laughter gives us pleasure.  We should appreciate it, welcome it, and encourage it in our lives – for no other reason than it feels good!

Humor Should be a Part of Every Classroom

Contact Information

Debra Lemieux

If Then Creativity



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