Recently, scholarship on humour in teaching and learning has focused on the use of instructional humour. Past studies have reported that instructional humour is best used as a pedagogical tool for teaching and learning purposes. Nevertheless, how students perceive instructional humour and how humour enhances learning in the classroom is still not clear. This exploratory study aims to gain further understanding of students’ interpretation of teachers’ use of humour in relation to teaching and learning in a higher education context. In particular, it aims to explore the perspectives of students as to how the use of humour in the classroom enhances their learning. Data were collected from one-to-one in-depth interviews with 10 undergraduate students who were learning with award-winning teachers at a research-intensive university in New Zealand. Students explained a variety of ways in which humour enabled their process of learning. These included helping them to concentrate, remember and understand learning content by connecting humour to content. Additionally, a sense of rapport and positive attitude towards learning and the teacher were indicated as contributing to the learning environment. Our findings indicate that students considered instructional humour a tool that enhanced their learning cognitively and emotionally.
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