The use of humor in the classroom: Exploring effects on teacher-student immediacy and student learning

Francisco A Galindo, University of Texas at El Paso


The field of education is constantly evolving; however, the goal of bridging the gap between teacher and student relationships remains the same. The focus of pedagogical theories is to inform and orient educators on how they can maximize the learning experience of their students through effective and constantly evolving teaching methods. Many studies have been conducted in regards to how educators can establish a positive learning environment while promoting solid comprehension and lasting retention of the material being taught. Among the methods being tested and practiced by educators is the use of humor (Garner, 2005) in order to achieve immediacy in the classroom. This study proposes that the use of humor can have a positive effect in the classroom by increasing the comfort level of students and raising the level of subject comprehension and retention of material, while increasing the interest level of subject material, increase overall learning, and enhancing students' abilities to communicate the learned material. Using Microsoft Excel to organize data, a survey consisting of twenty seven closed-ended questions was administered to eighty public school teachers, in order to determine the relationship between the use of humor in the classroom and the two dependent variables measured in this study. The data revealed that instructors who reported using more humor in the classroom also reported being more effective teachers. They also felt closer to their students (i.e., immediacy). While this self-report data does not paint the whole picture of student learning, it nonetheless suggests that humor might help teachers reach students better.^

Subject Area

Education, Pedagogy|Speech Communication|Education, Educational Psychology

Recommended Citation

Galindo, Francisco A, "The use of humor in the classroom: Exploring effects on teacher-student immediacy and student learning" (2012). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI1518199.