Teachers Should Develop a Sense of Humor

alex atkins bookshelf educationJosef Broder is Assistant Dean for Academic Affairs and a professor at the University of Georgia for more than two decades. He is the winner of several outstanding teacher awards. He is known for his great wit and sense of humor. In an essay titled “Creating and Environment for Teaching and Learning” Broder emphasizes the need to use humor in the classroom. He shares an anecdote about his young son who was asked what he wanted to be when he grew up. His son responded: “Dad, I want to be a professor and a comedian just like you!”

Broder reflects on the importance of humor as a teaching tool in the classroom: “I have always appreciated humor in the classroom, whether coincidental or intentional. However, those who want to introduce humor in their classroom should distinguish between delivering humor and developing a sense of humor. I think a key element of effective teaching is for teachers to develop a sense of humor that goes beyond telling an occasional joke… By a sense of humor, I mean a state of mind that recognizes the limitations of ourselves and our knowledge. Humor is relief from dogma, which students find to be tedious. Humor and irony can be powerful teaching tools when used to challenge, and present, conflicting points of view.” Moreover, Broder believes that teachers who use humor are more believable, more human, and more approachable. Because Broder does have a great sense of humor, shares his top ten list of the most common questions and comments he has heard during his teaching career.

  1. I can’t be in class tomorrow. Will you be talking about anything important?
  2. Is this score on my exam the number wrong or the number right?
  3. I got the exact same answer as my classmate, but she got a higher grade.
  4. I can’t be in class tomorrow. I have to register for classes.
  5. Is this going to be on the test.
  6. I knew the material. I just couldn’t give it back to you on the exam.
  7. Do we have to take the final exam?
  8. Can we drop a grade?
  9. Do you grade on a curve?
  10. Do we have to buy the book?

Read related posts: How to Get the Most Out of College?
Too Much Homework is Bad for Students
Education is the Engine of Personal Development
What Makes a Great Teacher?
The College Admissions Mania
What Makes a Great Mentor?
What Makes a Great Teacher?
What Should you Teach Your kids Before They Leave Home?
Education Reform
Lifelong Learning with The Great Courses
Education or Indoctrination?
I Am What Libraries Have Made Me

For further reading: Extraordinary Teachers: The Essence of Excellent Teaching by Fred Stephenson

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