The European Journal of Humour Research

Vol 2, No 1 (2014)

“No harm done”: Teachers’ humorous talk about children’s safety

Ros Kaye Sullivan


This paper presents and discusses the forms of humour employed by New Zealand primary school teachers when talking about childrens safety in the outdoor classroom. A discourse analysis, guided by the notion of interpretative repertoires (Potter & Wetherell 1990, 2004), suggests a tension between safe practice and enjoyment with humour as a mediating factor. Three repertoires were named from analysis: safe practitioner; adventurous risk-taker; fun, pleasure and excitement seeker. A surprising and unexpected aspect was the place of humour in teacherstalk, as analysis indicated that humour was an interpretative resource employed in all three repertoires. I suggest humour is a mechanism through which teachers negotiate and manage both providing for childrens enjoyable outdoor educational activities and ensuring their safety.



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