The European Journal of Humour Research

Vol 11, No 4 (2023)

Humour-themed holistic learning processes in a Finnish primary school

Juli-Anna Aerila,Marja-Leena Rönkkö,Tuula Stenius


Although humour in education has shown positive research results, its use in Finnish classrooms is not common and is not included in Finland’s curricula. In this study, pupils’ humour is utilised as part of a holistic learning process in Finnish primary education. Implementing holistic learning processes means focusing on child-centredness, dissolving subject boundaries and concentrating on learning-to-learn skills, overall growth and traditional subject-learning goals. As a framework for the learning process, this study follows the guidelines of the Narratives and Crafts model, which aims to connect arts-based activities with different themes. This study aims to investigate the role of humour in the context of an arts-based learning process and to assess opportunities for its more conscious use in learning. The data were taken from the outcomes of 36 pupils during a holistic learning process and were analysed using qualitative content analysis. The results indicated that creative or arts-based activities and humour worked well together as a means for pupils to incorporate their inner thoughts and personal perceptions into their assignments. Furthermore, humour can be a source of a long-term process, and expressions of pupils’ humour can be steered by assignments and preliminary materials, as well as by collaboration with other pupils and the teacher. However, teachers should have more research-based information about humour in the classroom and about the importance of humour in the community and for pupils.


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