How Humor Can Transform Your Classroom
Do you think a little amusement might brighten up your teaching? Want to be funny in front of a classroom, but not sure of the best way? Natascha Chtena has you covered.
Although I’d discovered the power of self-deprecation by accident, it made its mark on me and on my teaching. My students’ laughter that day instantly relaxed me and changed my attitude as an instructor over the weeks to come. I started being my (overly, some people claim) blunt self, and I discovered that some of the best comedy stems from blatant honesty. Stories of embarrassment and frustration had them holding their bellies while laughing. Gradually, I felt confident enough to start joking about their excuses and failure to deliver. Often a simple “seriously?” or “dude” would have them kicking and jumping and it would, surprisingly, turn out to be just as effective as a stern remark or criticism, if not more.
“Of course, there’s a thin line here. One should never ever use humor at the expense of a student’s self-esteem. Joking with students is one thing – putting them down another. Humor is also no substitute for substance: just because you are telling jokes, does not mean you are teaching effectively.