ERIC Number: EJ846022
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Jul
Reference Count: 11
Comic Relief: Engaging Students through Humor Writing
Goebel, Bruce A.
English Journal, v98 n6 p38-43 Jul 2009
In this time of high-stakes tests and school accountability, English classrooms have been pushed to become increasingly serious places. Combining NCLB pressures with desires to use literature to do important cultural work--such as fighting ethnic, gender, and social-class discrimination--virtually bans humor from the classroom. This is unfortunate for a number of reasons. While studies on the relationship between humor and learning are mixed, there is general agreement that when used in ways directly related to material and objectives being covered, there is improvement in attention, learning, and retention. In other words, with students for whom English class is not a natural pleasure, the use of humor can help make the classroom a more comfortable and engaging place to learn. To inspire laughter and learning in English classes everywhere, the author presents his ten reasons for using humor in the classroom, along with suggestions of some of his favorite humor-based writing activities. The suggested activities have been arranged from simple to complex, with one and two focused on crafting humorous words and phrases, three and four focused on strategies for humorous sentences and short passages, and the remaining activities focused on longer writing assignments in various genres. While the author tends to spread these throughout his curriculum, they could also work well as a unit on humor writing and/or literary humor.
Descriptors: Language Arts, English Teachers, Writing Assignments, Sentences, Humor, Classroom Environment, Teacher Student Relationship, Learner Engagement, Course Content, Science and Society, Rhetoric, Figurative Language
National Council of Teachers of English. 1111 West Kenyon Road, Urbana, IL 61801-1096. Tel: 877-369-6283; Tel: 217-328-3870; Web site: http://www.ncte.org/journals
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: High Schools
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: No Child Left Behind Act 2001