Наслеђе 51 (2022), стр. 81-96

АУТОР(И): Sanja R. Josifović Elezović


Download Full Pdf   

DOI: 10.46793/NasKg2251.081JE


The aim of this study is to explore the extent to which the employ- ment of humour in adult foreign language instruction represents an  important advantage for teachers and learners. In light of definitions, theories, functions, and types of humour, the paper examines aspects and effects of humour in the classroom with adult foreign language learners from the student-teachers’ points of view. It offers new insights into the topic from an empirical perspective in that it reveals perceptions of young adults who are simultaneously students and practising teachers of EFL. The examinees are the final year students of English at the Faculty of Philology, University of Banja Luka, who, for one semester, twice a week, give English language classes to adult learners at different levels of proficiency. These students preparing for a teaching career, are advised to use humour in their classes, monitor and evaluate its consequences. Their perceptions of its use and effects are examined in a face-to-face group interview and a few individual interviews. Qualitative content analysis reveals salient themes related to the role of humour in adult foreign language instruction. Results   are discussed in comparison to their supervisor’s field notes from class observations, and relevant research. They indicate that although stu- dent-teachers highly value humour in the classroom they are hesitant  in recommending its planned employment. Conclusions suggest a  more elaborate use of humour in both foreign language teaching and teacher training, from the earliest stages of practice.


adult learners, foreign language instruction, humour, perceptions, student-teachers


  • Askildson 2005: L. Askildson, Effects of humor in the language classroom: Humor as a pedagogical tool in theory and practice. Arizona Working Papers in SLAT, 12, 45-61.
  • Attardo 1994: S. Attardo, Linguistic Theories of Humour. Berlin and New York: Mou- ton de Gruyter.
  • Banas et al. 2011: J.A. Banas, N. Dunbar, D. Rodriguez, and S.-J. Liu, A Review of Humor in Educational Settings: Four Decades of Research. Communication Education, 60: 1, 115 -144.
  • Bell 2015: N. Bell, We are not amused: Failed humor in interaction. Berlin/Boston/ Munich: De Gruyter Mouton.
  • Bell & Pomerantz 2016: N. Bell and A. Pomerantz, Humor in the Classroom: A Guide for Language Teachers and Educational Researchers. New York: Routledge.
  • Bryant et al. 1979: J. Bryant, P. Comisky, and D. Zillmann, Teachers’ humor in the college classroom. Communication Education, 28, 110-118.
  • Council of Europe 2020: Council of Europe, Common European Framework of Reference for Languages: Learning, teaching, assessment – Companion vol- ume. Council of Europe Publishing, Strasbourg. Available at lang-cefr.
  • Eagleton 2019: T. Eagleton, Humour. New Haven and London: Yale University Press. Frymier et al. 2008: A. B. Frymier, M. B. Wanzer, and A. M. Wojtaszczyk, Assess- ing Students’ Perceptions of Inappropriate and Appropriate Teacher Humor, Communication Education 57, 266-288.
  • Garner 2006: R.L. Garner, Humor in pedagogy: how ha-ha can lead to aha! College Teaching, 54, 177-179.
  • Gorham & Christophel 1990: J. Gorham and D. M. Christophel, The relationship of teachers’ use of humor in the classroom to immediacy and student learning. Communication Education, 39, 46-62.
  • Hativa 2001: N. Hativa, Teaching for effective learning in higher education. Nether- lands: Kluwer Academic Publishers.
  • Josifović-Elezović 2006: S. Josifović-Elezović, Limerik u nastavi stranog jezika. Susret kultura, 773-783. Novi Sad: Filozofski fakultet.
  • Kaplan & Pascoe 1977: R.M. Kaplan, & G.C. Pascoe, Humorous lectures and humor- ous examples: Some effects upon comprehension and retention. Journal of Educational Psychology,69, 61-65.
  • Krashen 1982: S.D. Krashen, Principles and Practice in Second Language Acquisition. Oxford: Pergamon Press.
  • Krikmann 2006: A. Krikmann, Contemporary linguistic theories of humour. In
  • Folklore: Electronic journal of folklore 33, 27-58.
  • Lei et al. 2010: S.A. Lei, J.L. Cohen and K.M. Russler, Humor on Learning in the College Classroom: Evaluating Benefits and Drawbacks from Instructors’ Perspectives. Journal of Instructional Psychology, 37(4), 326-331.
  • Lovorn 2009: M. Lovorn, Three easy ways to bring humour into the social studies classroom. The Leader 23 (1), 15–16, 20–21.
  • Lovorn & Hollaway 2015: M. Lovorn, and C. Hollaway, Teachers’ perceptions of humour as a classroom teaching, interaction, and management tool. Euro- pean Journal of Humour Research 3 (4) 24–35.
  • Martin et al. 2003: R.A. Martin, P. Puhlik-Doris, G. Larsen, J. Gray, and K.Weir, Individual differences in uses of humor and their relation to psychological well-being: Development of the Humor Styles Questionnaire. Journal of Research in Personality 37 (1) 48–75.
  • Martin 2007: R. A. Martin, The psychology of humor: an integrative approach. Burl- ington: Elsevier Academic Press.
  • McGraw & Warren 2010: A. P. McGraw, and C. Warren, Benign violations: Making immoral behavior funny. Psychological Science, 21(8), 1141–1149.
  • Medgyes 2002: P. Medgyes, Laughing matters: Humour in the language classroom. Cambridge: CUP.
  • Morrison 2008: M. K. Morrison, Using Humour to Maximize Learning: The Links between Positive Emotions and Education. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.
  • Prodanović Stankić 2011: D. Prodanović Stankić, Using Humour in Teaching English as a Foreign Language at More Advanced Levels. Zbornik Instituta za peda- goška istraživanja, 43 (2), 254–265.
  • Schmitz 2002: J. R. Schmitz, Humor as a pedagogical tool in foreign language and translation courses. Humor 15 (1), 89-113.
  • Wanzer & Frymier 1999: M. B. Wanzer, &, A. B. Frymier, The relationship between student perceptions of instructor humor and students’ reports of learning. Communication Education, 48, 48-61.
  • Wanzer et al. 2006: M. B., Wanzer, A. B. Frymier, A. M. Wojtaszczyk, & T. Smith, Appropriate and Inappropriate Uses of Humor by Teachers. Communication Education, 55(2), 178–196.
  • Wanzer et al. 2010: M.B. Wanzer, A.B. Frymier, and J. Irwin, An explanation of the relationship between instruction humor and student learning: Instructional humor processing theory. Communication Education, 59, 118.