Humor can be a valuable resource in the learning environment. It isn’t just about puns and one-liners, and even if you’re not a “funny” person, it’s easy to bring creactivity, entertainment, emotion, and yes, even some laughs to almost any educational setting. Here’s a book that will help trainers loosen up and create memorable programs that both they and their students will remember – and use.

Although this hardly constitutes a scientific study, to me it suggests that people instinctively see a difference between humor and joke telling. And there is a difference. Humour is a state or quality. Joke telling is an action—only one of many actions by which you might express humor. In other words (take a deep breath, now):You can use humour beautifully and expertly without telling a single joke.

Hardcover: 224 pages
Publisher: Amacom (1 Dec. 2002)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0814407455
ISBN-13: 978-0814407455


This is a little masterpiece. Writing about humor is surprisingly difficult. There are, on the one had, academic papers so dry they put you off laughing for weeks. There are also authors who try so hard to be funny it makes one feel sad. Doni Tamblyn manages to write a book that is intelligent, useful and tastefully funny. It is the best possible illustration of the role of humor in the learning process.

Most teachers and trainers believe, either from research or gut instinct,that humour helps people learn better. Relatively few, however, give muchtime to building this very easy skill.One reason is that they don’t think humour is a“skill”that can be“built.”Humour is a gift, they believe; you’re either born with it or not. They’re almost right. Just a hair off. In actual fact, humour is a gift and I, and everyone else, were born with it. Another reason teachers and trainers resist using humour is that they fear the possible negative repercussions. Maybe they will “bomb.” Maybe they will inadvertently make an inappropriate joke. Maybe their topic is too serious for humour. Maybe a humorous, playful audience will be too hard to control.

Laugh and Learn – 95 Ways to Use Humor for More Effective Teaching and Training

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