Department/School of the Primary Author

English, Literature, and Modern Languages


humor, affective filter, foreign language instruction, L2 pedagogy, teaching methods, language learners, language attitudes




Humor is a notoriously vague construct, often identified not by formal definition but by individual intuition (Bell, 2009). This makes it rather difficult to study or categorize concisely – indeed, analyzing humor or explaining a joke is often thought to remove the fundamental enjoyment from the experience. Despite the inherent hazards, this research seeks to provide further insight into the effects and potential applications of humor in the foreign language (FL) classroom, guided by the following research question: How does L1 humor, specifically when used as a pedagogical tool, influence students’ affective filters in a college-level elementary foreign language classroom? Toward this end, I collected observation and interview data from students in a college-level elementary French class regarding their response to various types of humor at play in their classroom. Through qualitative data analysis, I then categorized my findings into three key themes related to the effects of humor. This study’s results lend insight that could shape language instructors’ attitudes toward humor in the classroom, and consequently their methods of teaching and interacting with students. Additionally, I hope that the gaps in this research will elucidate avenues for future study in this rich field.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
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