Language educators often regard humor as either too difficult to teach or ancillary to their curricular goals. Additional language learners, however, often report a desire to initiate and/or participate more actively in humorous exchanges, particularly outside the language classroom. In this presentation, I make a case for focusing on humor in instructional settings, noting how it can be used as a vehicle to promote metalinguistic awareness and a way to increase students’ interactional confidence and competence. Likewise, I offer principles for designing lessons about humor, as well as sample instructional plans. This presentation is intended to pique language teachers’ interest in humor and provide them with a sound theoretical basis for developing their own instructional activities.
Anne Pomerantz is a Senior Lecturer in the Educational Linguistics program at the University of Pennsylvania, Graduate School of Education, where she teaches classes on language & identity, second language pedagogy, and intercultural communication. Prior to this she was a Spanish language instructor and a coordinator in the department of Romance Languages at Penn. Her work has appeared in Applied Linguistics, Critical Inquiry in Language Studies, Journal of Language & Identity in Education, Journal of Language & Intercultural Communication, Modern Language Journal, and Multilingua.
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