The European Journal of Humour Research

Vol 6, No 1 (2018)

Investigating the potential of humour in EFL classrooms: An attitudinal study

Talip Gonulal


Studies on humour have indicated that humour has a lot to offer to both language teachers and learners. Creating a positive classroom environment and lowering affective barriers to language learning are among the several effects of humour. However, the appreciation of humour can be culture-specific and context-dependent. For example, greater values may lie in the employment of humour in English as a foreign language (EFL) settings such as Turkey where the communicative-oriented teaching methods are still in their infancy stage. The current study, therefore, examined the potentials of humour from Turkish EFL learners’ perspective to elicit their opinions regarding the importance and potent roles of humour in EFL classrooms. In this attitudinal study, a mixed-methods design was used. A comprehensive humour perception questionnaire and semi-structured interviews were employed. Two hundred and fifty college EFL students completed the humour survey and eight of them participated in the follow-up interviews. The results indicated that Turkish college-level EFL students have largely positive attitudes towards using humour in English classrooms. Additionally, students considered humour as an effective pedagogical tool that can increase their attentiveness, attention span, confidence in English classrooms, and teacher-student solidarity, as well.


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