Abstract: Humor is an artistic method. Teaching humor is also considered as a kind of art. If it is properly utilized, it can make students obtain knowledge and wisdom in pleasant surroundings. The characters of teaching humor are that it is full of interest, implication, enlightenment and cheerfulness. This paper firstly analyzes the definition and connotation of humor and the nowadays situation of senior high school English teaching, then discusses the significance of using humor and the specific methods and means to use humor in senior high school English teaching.
The use of teaching humor is helpful for teachers to understand and apply this artistic method to establish a new channel to improve the teaching effect. Key words: humor; senior high English teaching I. Introduction The word humor comes from Latin. Its meaning is very complicated and blurry. It is different from that of funny. The origin meaning is body fluid. As it is read in the dictionary, humor means the ability to laugh and find things funny.
Humor is a language with art process, and it is an artistic method, with which causes laughter. Namely, humor is an artwork. Humor is a phenomenon of language as well as of culture.
It represents the national characteristics and shows the history of the development of the culture.
As a culture phenomenon, humor can be divided into the contextual humor and language humor. The difference between the two kinds of humor is that the former one focuses on the logistic thinking, while the latter focuses on making use of the connotation of the culture.. In the English teaching, the teacher should fitfully make use of different humor material to enhance the students’ sense of culture, and make the humor to improve the effect of teaching, let the students know and learn the English language in a pleasure situation.
Humor is an art. Teaching humor is also considered as a kind of art. If it is properly utilized, it can recall students’ attention, invoke students’ enthusiasm, cultivate students’ interest of learning effectively and make students obtain knowledge and wisdom in pleasant surroundings. The essence of teaching humor is the good combination of gravity and humor, appearance and spirit, knowledge and emotion, seeking for sudden realization. The characters of teaching humor are that it is full of interest, implication, enlightenment and cheerfulness.
Interest is a common and forever-last human nature. It is a midwife of knowledge fruit, which shows a geist life. The interest of humor in teaching always not only makes students accept, master and understand the teaching content pleasantly, but also gives them an unforgettable impression. The key function of humor in teaching is that it can make the class interesting. It is obvious that interest is a strong inner force to lead students to pursue and learn knowledge. Humor should be somewhat with connotation, with which it can make human think and deduce.
That is to say that humor in teaching is always not so obvious when the teacher transmits knowledge and minds. Many excellent teachers often make use of parables, exaggerating and other tropes to get humorous teaching effect, and lead students to think and master the knowledge, then get unexpected great teaching result. It is true that humor in teaching can make students happy, but it is not the real purpose. The final intention is to get them learn some profound philosophic theories and enlightenment after laughter.
Students can get much information from teachers’ humorous words, and then they can improve their study efficiency. And in humorous teaching they can find some serious topics, great characters, good wishes, nice sentiment and noble spirit, etc. The content of humor in teaching is full of cheerfulness. humor in teaching can arouse their pleasure, make them happy and willing to study. The pleasure of humorous teaching can greatly improve the teaching efficiency and the receipt of knowledge. But how humor is used in the present situation of English teaching in senior high schools?
II. The Present Situation of English Teaching in Senior High Schools In the 20th century, numerous English teaching methods had emerged; however, all of them, the most popular one about 1980s, have not reached a satisfying result. Thus, from 1990s, the main idea of English teaching does not consider “method” as an important aspect of English teaching. Because the methods ignore the fact that the learning process is conceived in the interactive activity with other people, and the English teaching environments such as culture, politics are also ignored.
Under this main tendency the English curriculum standard was formulated by our national education department, English teaching takes a social constructivism as its theoretical foundation. This English teaching method classifies the different positions of teachers and students in the classroom. It points out the teacher is no longer the focus in the classroom and the role of teacher is transformed from a knowledge provider to a students’ helper and instructor. And these standards need the special language use by teachers, namely, the humor. There are some characters of the traditional English teaching system.
The first, teachers try their best to make any possible way to improve students’ marks. Some of the teachers should be respected for their effort, but they use wrong methods, so the results are not as good as teachers expected. The second, some of the students cheat owner in the exams for more points, which results in the deteriorating of the examination habit. The third, because of the aim to reach the better result, teachers always take the measure of giving more homework to students. As if the more homework they do, the better result students will get in exams.
In a word, students are taught without any humor and they are educated to be the tools of exams. The real purpose of teaching is not to marks, but in order to improve the abilities of students. Can such boring educating nurture proper students for the market economy? Such educators think that those who reach the basic points of junior colleges and technical secondary schools are the right students for the market economy. In senior high school if teachers only let students stay in a great tensional situation without considering the individual characters and the different abilities of students, it will badly impact the health of students.
Once a famous person said that the modern university graduates’ minds were similar with the old-aged, no vigor or originality. He thought that students having no vigor or originality are blamed to the educated system. It is the educated system that trains student. When in the kindergarten, they are told that the only one goal they have to chase is to go to a famous university. Teachers have focused on indoctrinating the knowledge without any humorous teaching. This type of teaching makes students lose interest and deprives their livingness. They are working hard, but they do not dare to change the uthority or to debate with teachers. Only by defying the old traditions, can they make progress. Discussing and researching the present situation of English teaching in now senior schools is good for teachers to know better and practice this teaching method, then teachers will get new teaching ways to improve teaching effect, make the relationship between teachers and students much better, arouse students’ interest, deepen the teaching content, make teaching procedures more flexible and make great progress in teaching effect.
The Significance of Using Humor in English Teaching. A Russia educator said that humor is the leading and the first assistant of teaching. In the teaching, humor is formed in the way that the teacher uses various humorous languages, actions and expressions to arouse the students’ interest in study. In this way the teacher impart experience directly or indirectly. As for the humor in teaching, it can be a strong inner drive, which makes students willing to study 3. 1 It is good to arouse the students’ study motivations Most Chinese students pick up English at their teenagers, thus their mother tongue has formed a language model.
In addition, English are quite different in pronunciation, sentence pattern, vocabulary and culture with the mother tongue, so English is somewhat difficult for them. With boring teaching methods, it is very difficult to help the students overcome their passive mood. With such inactive mentality, students cannot get high mark in their study. Contrarily, teachers’ humor will bring happiness and pleasure to the students. Consequently, students will fall love with the course in such comfortable class atmosphere. Students are willing to work hard on this course. This humor, therefore, is the power for them to study hard.
Once students have this frame of mind, they will try their best to learn. 3. 2 It plays an active role in drawing the Ss’ attention to their study Attention is a positive state of the psychology; it gives the mind a certain direction. Without attention, it is impossible to finish the study tasks. There are two kinds of attentions. They are intentional attention and unconscious attention. Although students have enthusiasm and go-aheadism, and can control themselves at a certain extent, they are not mature or self-control enough as adults. Bald English teaching can make tudents lose self-control on their attention easily; thereby the class ends up with inefficient reaction from students. As a result, teachers get half the result with twice the effort. Unconscious attention is brought by outside provocative. It is not unbending, without conscious intend or endeavor at all. Interest is an important source of the unconscious attention. Humor, as the outside provocative, can make the classes full of humor and wit, make the students cannot help laughing or the whole class burst into laughter. Accordingly, it lightens students’ pressure and fatigue, and ends up with high efficiency.
That is what we always said correspond in the teaching. 3. 3 It helps students long-remember the learned Humorous teaching can raise the students’ desire for knowledge effectively, which is good for them to understand and master the knowledge. The research of the abroad shows that if add a story of humor after a new conception, it would be easier for students to remember and keep it longer in mind. Students often complain that it is difficult to learn English by heart. Good study motivation can make student study hard and overcome the difficulties. And the great attention on study is the basic condition of memory.
So teachers teaches with the language material in the class. It is easy for students to remember the knowledge in the class if with great attention. The tighter the connection, the longer the knowledge can be remembered. 3. 4 It can be a lubricant to the relationship between students and teachers It will make students depressive if the teacher is too serious and the teaching language is too boring. A good class atmosphere can make students and teachers happy to learn and to teach. As a result, it brings a harmonic relationship, and removes students’ worry, timidity and fear in the class.
The result is that students will not only answer the teacher’s questions actively, but also ask questions themselves. By the way, students’ enthusiasm can be fully exerted. Humor is not nurtured in a short time. The teacher would pay more attention to the daily life, such as the interesting things in TV programs, comedies and films. Some language in text books can use some interesting things for reference. Teachers should notice that the examples should not be hard for students to understand, but appropriate and easy to read. Examples have nothing with the teaching would waste students’ time.
Teachers’ humor should be healthy. Unhealthy jokes would work illy on students’ moral character. In addition, teachers should not laugh at students’ limitations and shortcomings, or it would hurt students’ proper pride. What is more, it will beget students’ revolt 3. 5 It can make students think It is proved by teaching theories and experiences that teaching humor impact directly on students’ thinker. Modern psychologists say that common people can only concentrate on one thing by at most 11 seconds. While using humor in the class can cheer students up and can prolong their concentrative time.
At the same time, it is easier for students to remember and consolidate the knowledge. What is more, humorous teaching will work straightway on and improve students’ ability of expressing themselves, especially the witticism, pun and other speech skills. It is helpful for teacher to improve the teaching charm and spice and to neatly use humor in the teaching. 3. 6 It can drive away the tiredness in teaching Humor plays an important part in dispelling the fatigue during teaching and activating the class environment. In English teaching classes, most humors are made by the teacher.
To some distracted students, the teacher can ask them a question: “Would you please tell us which words are used most frequently in class? ” The most possible answer may be: “Sorry, I do not know. ” And if the teacher responses with humor: “Right, very good! ” This will sure score a lucky hit and enhance the students’ enthusiasm, in which way it will kill two birds with one stone. With proper way of teaching humor, the relationship between students and the teachers would be closer. In a word, the aims of humor not only make students laugh, but also let students learn something in the laughter.
There are many factors of teaching. But humor must be good for English teaching. IV. The Ways to Use Humor in English Classes The real purpose of humor teaching is to realize the value of English teaching and learning in a pleasure environment and connect teachers and students with happiness. During teaching, teachers should manage humor with proper extent and handle the teaching space neatly, and make use of the text books just right, preventing egregious humor and letting students learn something in the humor. Thus it is beneficial for teaching and learning.
The first and the most important purpose of the teacher’s humor is to arouse the students’ interest. To reach the purpose, those following ways offer a reference to all English teachers, especially for the senior high school ones: 4. 1 Be in accordance with the fact of students For instance, many teachers add humor in oral practice. Before the class, the teacher asks a student to stand before the blackboard and tell the whole class a joke or a short story. The purpose is to active the class atmosphere and to stir the students, so it is a good thinking.
Most students will choose to tell a joke, however, when he or she finishes the joke, nobody laughs except himself or herself. This activity is a contravention of adjusting measures to right time, because humor is a high stage of speech ability. As for senior high school students, their vocabulary, knowledge, and oral English are not enough to be humorous. This method to be humorous is too difficult for the students to work. Furthermore, teachers are the initiatives in the teaching with humor, while students are the digestion of humor. If the humor violates the reality of students, it is hard to get interaction from them.
Then the humor is not effective at all. Above all, teachers should pay attention to select the right material. That is to be humorous in accordance of the student’s aptitude. This material can be some visual stimuli, such as maps, photos, pictures, cartoons and lantern slide as well as films if the condition permits. Take teaching the senior high school English text book? for example. There is a sentence in that book: “If the population keeps growing quickly, there will be only standing room left for us next century. ” The explanation of the phrase “standing room” in the text book is a tiny bit of land.
The teacher explained with not only language but also with body language which is just like the teacher stands in a crowd, shoulder to shoulder, side by side, hand in hand. Students laughed immediately when they saw the teacher’s gesticulation. Hereby, students not only remembered that phrase in the laughter but also knew better of the serious aftereffect of the inflated population. 4. 2 Be humorous connected with the text book and enlighten the students Students will sense, enjoy and accept the knowledge after active thinking and imagination.
After laughing, students will fall into deep thinking or imagination, then they will be practiced their thinking agility and the creation of imagination. For example, during the topic speech and discussion, the teacher can prepare some cards, write some topics. As for the topics, they need the teachers to collect in the daily life. Teachers should choose some helpful and interesting the teaching content. When students get used to a teaching method, they will lose passion on it. That is why teachers should always find new teaching patterns to feed students’ need.
With new view angle and thinking, knowledge can be teaches by a total amazing humorous but easily digested by students. In addition, to be humorous, teachers should keep steps with the times, pay attention to the news and information of the modern times, which can be used properly in the English teaching, add new vital force and energy to the teaching. For example: here is a sentence in the thirtieth lesson of the second book of senior high school: “The best thing is to use mouth-to-mouth way. ” This lesson is about first aid. It is any interest at all. The teacher felt that it was very tedious of the class.
In order to improve the class environment, the teacher thought of an idea. She decided to use the phrase “mouth-to-mouth way “to raise students’ interest. She said: “boys and girls, here the mouth-to-mouth way just refers to a way of giving first aid, not the meaning it has. ” The students with quick reaction laughed at once, and came on top of the rest students. Then the class had been bringing into the active atmosphere. For other example, when teaching the comparative degree of adjectives, the teacher can give a riddle to the students: which is heavier, a full moon or half moon?
Why? After the students’ thinking, the teacher can give a hint by saying something connected with light. Obviously, a full moon is lighter than a half moon. And the adjective “light” has a meaning of not heavy, opposite with the word “heavy”. Then the answer appears: a half moon, because a full moon is lighter. 4. 3 Make humor be related to the reality of class In order to create the active class environment, teachers should make students realize they are concerned and be given confidence.
Whatever unexpected matter happen, the teachers should let students feel that the measures taken would be friendly and encouraging. As a teacher, you should clutch at every chance to praise students and let them know that what progress they have made and be pride of themselves. Smile, as the key of the humorous teaching, can make the students enjoy the pleasure feeling. So students can get away the annoyance of the exhausted study The teacher enters the classroom with smile, which will give the students digest something more important than the teacher’s smile itself.
The joviality of the teacher will be a good start of the class. When the students ask questions, they see the teacher’s easy-going smile and encouraging gaze; the students, who break the class rules, and those who tidy up the stationery to prepare going home in the class and receive the teacher’s reasonable responses and judgments: “guys, revolution has not been success now”, “Those who can bear the hungry will be the great ones. ” Those sayings are much more efficacious than angry scolding. That kind of humor will not harm the teacher’s stateliness nor will hurt students’ dignity.
Once students laugh to their heart’s content due to the happiness in their mind, they will feel inspired and be confident with all the things around themselves. A good teacher starts the humorous joke with a very easy and comfortable tone to relax the students, and then talks several normal sentences to secretly slide to the joke, and finally tells the story in an invisible way to achieve the preconcerted aims. So it is important to make humor be related to the reality of class. 4. 4 Explain words with humorous ways Words are the foundation of the English learning.
For a student who is excellent at grammar, while doesn’t know enough words, he would probably made many faults because there is no possibility for him to build a skyscraper without bricks. So this is about boring word in English teaching. It is difficult for most Chinese students to remember. If taught with humor; students will get twice the result with half the effort. In this class, the teacher the new word –doctor degree. The teacher thought of a new idea: “In fact, there are three kinds of university degrees. They are doctor degree, master degree and bachelor degree, but how to learn them by heart? Here I make a brief explanation.
As for the word doctor, it usually refers to someone we turn to when we get ill. We all respect doctors because they are kindhearted and rich in knowledge. It undoubtedly ranks the first place in academic degrees. For the word ‘bachelor’, its meaning is single person who does not marry. We know that when someone wants the further educational after he or she finish the studies in university, he or she may be old enough to marry, but a college student cannot. ” At that time, a very active boy stand up at once to say: “Master, I once read an article in certain news paper which says that college student may marry in the next few years. The teacher said with a joke: “I hope you will be one of those lucky ones when you become a college student. ” The class burst into laughter at once. Then students remember the three words of degrees. For another example, if it is the time to teach the students the different use of the word “can”, the teacher can tell a joke story like this “yesterday my friends and I went to park to have a good day, and we ate what we can, what we can’t, we can” so this sentence sounds like a funny joke which makes no sense, while under this guidance, the teacher can make a good teaching.
Therefore to explain words with humorous ways is really a good way for English teaching. 4. 5 Collect various humor materials and stories The more humor materials the teacher has, the easier he or she can use the materials. In this way, teachers can use laconic aphorisms, sagacious proverbs and wonderful jokes at their pleasure to make English classes much better. Humor, of course, is a very good for English teaching, teachers should be careful not to be too glib. Teachers should bear in mind the followings: Above all, teachers should not be humorous with the same way or the same pattern.
When meeting a certain humorous saying for the first time, students would feel fancy and burst into laughter. However, if they hear it over and over again, they would get tired of it. It is common that people feel full of something when they see it many times each day. So it is not a good idea to be humorous with the same way. Humor in the teaching should deeply run. Therefore to collect various humor materials and stories is of great importance. For example, in the same book of lesson 59, there is a sentence: “He began the research and studies which led to his new discoveries in physics. The teacher explained that here his new discoveries should be Theory of Relativity. As to the theory, there is a humorous story about Einstein. At that time, his theory was so advanced that few people could understand it and accepted it as well. The question what on earth Theory of Relativity was asked by many people over and over again? Once he himself was asked the same question by an American journalist, Einstein said to him: when you sit beside a pretty girl for two hours, you think it is two minutes. But when you sit on a stove for two minutes, you think it is two hours. That is Theory of Relativity.
Thus the humorous example of The Theory of Relativity and Wisdom influenced each student. The big classroom was filled with laughter. By the way, students excavated more great knowledge. In the same class, when it came to the end of the class, the last sentence of the lesson is: he died on April 18th, 1955 at the age of 76. The teacher said that when he was 76 years old, his life came to the end, and then came the ring of the rest time. The teacher can say: “Now our class comes to the end, too. ” Students are amused by the teacher’s language. That class ends up with happiness.
V. Conclusion. As all mentioned above in the English teaching classes, it will be more active and interesting with teacher’s humor. With the conduction of the teachers, students will be interested in English. It is beneficial for raising students’ initiative, not only let students learn the language but also get to the English culture background and history. As what the saying goes that interest is the best teacher, once they get to know the knowledge behind the humor, and realize the meaning, they will chase the fun of learning English instead of treating English learning to be a hard task.
With this method, students can learn the real language and also nurture the ability of understanding of culture. English teachers should not only transfer the surface information and content to the students, but also show the inner styles and characters to them, letting students fully realize the endless charm of English. On the other hand, as for the teaching itself, English teaching has a long history and involves many factors. However, there are defects in the English teaching ideas, teaching measures and so on.
They are needed to be improved and innovated. Learning English well depend on the interest, so it is very important to add humor in teaching. An American psychologist said that humor is an artistic method which can be transferred, and is the most interesting and the easiest way to affect others. English teaching with humor will have a great effect in improving the English learning. The use of teaching humor is helpful for teachers to understand and apply this artistic method to establish a new channel to improve the teaching effect.