AbstractsEducation Research & Administration

If Humour be the Food of Learning, Joke on: Perspectives of Several Italian and Swedish Upper-Secondary School Students on Humour and Dialogic Classroom Interaction

by Ashley Blackmore

Institution: Högskolan i Halmstad
Year: 2013
Keywords: dialogue; interaction; humour; upper-secondary school; Vygotsky; Humanities; Languages and Literature; Humaniora; Språk och litteratur; Social Sciences; Educational Sciences; Samhällsvetenskap; Utbildningsvetenskap; humaniora/teologi; Humanities, Theology; Utbildningsvetenskap; Education Science
Record ID: 1351010
Full text PDF: http://urn.kb.se/resolve?urn=urn:nbn:se:hh:diva-21765


Social constructivism, known as Vygotskian theory, has been implicated in improving spoken language skills of upper-secondary school students. This qualitative study aims to investigate the perspectives of students regarding the teachers’ use of humour in ESL lessons both in Italy and Sweden. A secondary aspect of the study was to assess the use of humour in second language acquisition related to language learning and communicative competence based on dialogism and interaction. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 20 participants (5 males and 5 females from each of the respective countries). After analysis using phenomenography, results indicate that humorous dialogic instruction and interaction, as well as non-verbal forms of humour such as gesticulation and facial expression, have the possibility to dramatically increase the focus and interest in lesson content which facilitates better communicative understanding of English. Immediacy is perceived to improve feelings of well-being and harmony within the classroom. Humour and openness are considered important and necessary factors in improving motivation and self-belief during oral tasks as facilitated an effective, communicative learning climate. The study also proposes that there are four factors (teacher, student, subject and task) which affect learning processes, and moderation of humour, the fifth factor, acts as a scaffold to assist in stretching students’ knowledge within the ZPD.