Advertisement

European Journal of Psychology of Education

, Volume 34, Issue 3, pp 517–534 | Cite as

Teacher humor: longitudinal effects on students’ emotions

  • Sonja BiegEmail author
  • Robert Grassinger
  • Markus Dresel
Article
  • 220 Downloads

Abstract

Characteristics of teaching are associated with the emotions students experience in the classroom; however, empirical evidence regarding longitudinal effects is scarce. The present study investigated changes in positive and negative achievement emotions (enjoyment, boredom, and anger) vis-à-vis different teacher humor types (course-related, course-unrelated, self-disparaging, and aggressive), using the instructional humor processing theory and control-value theory of achievement emotions as a theoretical foundation. A total of 668 German upper track secondary school students from 41 classrooms with a mean age of 12.7 years (SD = 1.76) reported their perceptions of teacher humor and their experienced achievement emotions by completing online questionnaires (retest interval 6 months). Using the corresponding levels of emotions at the first measurement point as control values, results from multilevel analyses indicate that course-related humor weakens both decreases in enjoyment and increases in boredom and anger. Consistent with the hypotheses, aggressive humor leads to less enjoyment and more boredom and anger. Directions for future research are discussed and suggestions on how to best relate humor to course content are made.

Keywords

Humor Emotional experience Longitudinal studies Questionnaires 

Notes

References

  1. Ainley, M., Corrigan, M., & Richardson, N. (2005). Students, tasks and emotions: Identifying the contribution of emotions to students’ reading of popular culture and popular science texts. Learning and Instruction, 15(5), 433–447.Google Scholar
  2. Banas, J. A., Dunbar, N., Rodriguez, D., & Liu, S.-J. (2011). A review of humor in educational settings. Communication Education, 60(1), 115–144.Google Scholar
  3. Becker, E. S., Goetz, T., Morger, V., & Ranellucci, J. (2014). The importance of teachers’ emotions and instructional behavior for their students’ emotions—an experience sampling analysis. Teaching and Teacher Education, 43, 15–26.Google Scholar
  4. Berlyne, D. E. (1960). Conflict, arousal and curiosity. New York: Mc Graw-Hill.Google Scholar
  5. Bieg, S., & Dresel, M. (2016). Fragebogen zur Erfassung des Humors von Lehrkräften aus Schülersicht (HUMLAS): Konstruktion und Validierung [construction and validation of the German questionnaire to assess students’ perceptions of teacher humor]. Diagnostica, 62(1), 3–15.Google Scholar
  6. Bieg, S., & Dresel, M. (2018). Relevance of perceived teacher humor types for instruction and student learning. Social Psychology of Education, 1–21.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s11218-018-9428-z.
  7. Bieg, S., Grassinger, R., & Dresel, M. (2017). Humor as a magic bullet? Associations of different teacher humor types with student emotions. Learning and Individual Differences, 56, 24–33.Google Scholar
  8. Boekaerts, M., & Pekrun, R. (2016). Emotions and emotion regulation in academic settings. In L. Corno & E. M. Anderman (Eds.), Handbook of Educational Psychology (pp. 76–90). New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  9. Booth-Butterfield, S., & Booth-Butterfield, M. (1991). Individual differences in the communication of humorous messages. Southern Communication Journal, 56(3), 205–217.Google Scholar
  10. Booth-Butterfield, M., & Wanzer, M.B. (2016). Humor enactment in learning environments. In P. L. Witt (Ed.), Handbooks of communication science: Communication and learning (Vol. 16, pp. 211–239). Berlin, Germany: DeGruyter Mouton.Google Scholar
  11. Buff, A. (2014). Enjoyment of learning and its personal antecedents: testing the change-change assumption of the control-value theory of achievement emotions. Learning and Individual Differences, 31, 21–29.Google Scholar
  12. Cann, A., Calhoun, L. G., & Nance, J. T. (2000). Exposure to humor before and after an unpleasant stimulus: humor as a preventative or a cure. Humor, 13, 177–191.Google Scholar
  13. Ford, T. E., Ford, B. L., Boxer, C. F., & Armstrong, J. (2012). Effect of humor on state anxiety and math performance. Humor, 25, 59–74.Google Scholar
  14. Fredrickson, B. L. (2001). The role of positive emotions in positive psychology: the broaden-and-build theory of positive emotions. American Psychologist, 56(3), 218–226.Google Scholar
  15. Frenzel, A., Pekrun, R., & Goetz, T. (2007a). Perceived learning environment and students’ emotional experiences: a multilevel analysis of mathematics classrooms. Learning and Instruction, 17(5), 478–493.Google Scholar
  16. Frenzel, A. C., Thrash, T. M., Pekrun, R., & Goetz, T. (2007b). Achievement emotions in Germany and China: a cross-cultural validation of the Academic Emotions Questionnaire-Mathematics (AEQ–M). Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 38(3), 302–309.Google Scholar
  17. Frenzel, A. C., Goetz, T., Lüdtke, O., Pekrun, R., & Sutton, R. E. (2009). Emotional transmission in the classroom: exploring the relationship between teacher and student enjoyment. Journal of Educational Psychology, 101(3), 705–716.Google Scholar
  18. Frymier, A. B., Wanzer, M. B., & Wojtaszczyk, A. M. (2008). Assessing students’ perceptions of inappropriate and appropriate teacher humor. Communication Education, 50, 314–326.Google Scholar
  19. Goetz, T., & Frenzel, A. C. (2010). Über- und Unterforderungslangeweile im Mathematikunterricht [boredom due to excessive and insufficient academic demands in the context of mathematics instruction]. Empirische Pädagogik, 24, 113–134.Google Scholar
  20. Goetz, T., & Hall, N. C. (2014). Academic boredom. In R. Pekrun & R. Linnenbrink-Garcia (Eds.), International handbook of emotions in education (pp. 311–330). New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  21. Goetz, T., Frenzel, A. C., Pekrun, R., & Hall, N. C. (2006). The domain specificity of academic emotional experiences. Journal of Experimental Education, 75(1), 5–29.Google Scholar
  22. Goetz, T., Lüdtke, O., Nett, U. E., Keller, M. M., & Lipnevich, A. A. (2013). Characteristics of teaching and students’ emotions in the classroom: investigating differences across domains. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 38(4), 383–394.Google Scholar
  23. Goodboy, A. K., Booth-Butterfield, M., Bolkan, S., & Griffin, D. J. (2015). The role of instructor humor and students’ educational orientations in student learning, extra effort, participation, and out-of-class communication. Communication Quarterly, 63(1), 44–61.Google Scholar
  24. Gorham, J., & Christophel, D. M. (1990). The relationship of teachers’ use of humor in the classroom to immediacy and student learning. Communication Education, 39(1), 46–62.Google Scholar
  25. Houser, M. L., Cowan, R. L., & West, D. A. (2007). Investigating a new education frontier: Instructor communication behavior in CD-Rom texts – do traditionally positive behaviors translate into this new environment? Communication Quarterly, 55(1), 19–38.Google Scholar
  26. Kaplan, R. M., & Pascoe, G. C. (1977). Humorous lectures and examples: some effects upon comprehension and retention. Journal of Educational Psychology, 69(1), 61–65.Google Scholar
  27. Keller, M. M., Hoy, A. W., Goetz, T., & Frenzel, A. C. (2016). Teacher enthusiasm: reviewing and redefining a complex construct. Educational Psychology Review, 28, 743–769.Google Scholar
  28. LaFave, L., Haddad, J., & Maesen, W. A. (1996). Superiority, enhanced self-esteem, and perceived incongruity humor theory. In A. J. Chapman & H. C. Foot (Eds.), Humor and laughter: theory research and applications (pp. 63–91). New Brunswick: Transaction.Google Scholar
  29. Larson, R. W., & Richards, M. H. (1991). Boredom in the middle school years: blaming schools versus blaming students. American Journal of Education, 99(4), 418–443.Google Scholar
  30. Marsh, H. W., Lüdtke, O., Nagengast, B., Trautwein, U., Morin, A. J. S., Abduljabbar, A. S., & Köller, O. (2012). Classroom climate and contextual effects: conceptual and methodological issues in the evaluation of group-level effects. Educational Psychologist, 47(2), 106–124.Google Scholar
  31. Martin, R. A., Puhlik-Doris, P., Larsen, G., Gray, J., & Weir, K. (2003). Individual differences in uses of humor and their relation to psychological well-being: development of the humor styles questionnaire. Journal of Research in Personality, 37(1), 48–75.Google Scholar
  32. Matarazzo, K. L., Durik, A. M., & Delaney, M. L. (2010). The effect of humorous instructional materials on interest in a math task. Motivation and Emotion, 34(3), 293–305.Google Scholar
  33. McCroskey, J., & Daly, J. (1987). Personality and interpersonal communication. Newbury Park: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  34. McGhee, P. E. (1994). How to develop your sense of humor. Dubuque: Kendall/Hunt Publishing.Google Scholar
  35. Muntaner-Mas, A., Vidal-Conti, J., Sesé, A., & Palou, P. (2017). Teaching skills, students’ emotions, perceived control and academic achievement in university students: a SEM approach. Teaching and Teacher Education, 67, 1–8.Google Scholar
  36. Nett, U. E., Goetz, T., & Hall, N. C. (2011). Coping with boredom in school: an experience sampling perspective. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 36(1), 49–59.Google Scholar
  37. Peixoto, F., Sanchez, C., Mata, L., & Monteiro, V. (2017). “How do you feel about math?”: relationships between competence and value appraisal, achievement emotions and academic achievement. European Journal of Psychology of Education, 32(3), 385–405.Google Scholar
  38. Pekrun, R. (2006). The control-value theory of achievement emotions: assumptions, corollaries, and implications for educational research and practice. Educational Psychology Review, 18(4), 315–341.Google Scholar
  39. Pekrun, R., & Bühner, M. (2014). Self-report measures of academic emotions. In R. Pekrun & R. Linnenbrink-Garcia (Eds.), International handbook of emotions in education (pp. 561–579). New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  40. Pekrun, R., & Perry, R. P. (2014). Control-value theory of achievement emotions. In R. Pekrun & L. Linnenbrink-Garcia (Eds.), International handbook of emotions in education (pp. 120–141). New York: Taylor & Francis.Google Scholar
  41. Pekrun, R., & Stephens, E. J. (2012). Academic emotions. In APA Educational psychology handbook: individual differences and cultural and contextual factors (Vol. 2, pp. 3–31). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.Google Scholar
  42. Pekrun, R., Goetz, T., Titz, W., & Perry, R. P. (2002). Academic emotions in students’ self-regulated learning and achievement: a program of qualitative and quantitative research. Educational Psychologist, 37(2), 91–106.Google Scholar
  43. Pekrun, R., Goetz, T., Daniels, L. M., Stupnisky, R. H., & Perry, R. P. (2010). Boredom in achievement settings: exploring control-value antecedents and performance outcomes of a neglected emotion. Journal of Educational Psychology, 102(3), 531–549.Google Scholar
  44. Pekrun, R., Goetz, T., Frenzel, A. C., Barchfeld, P., & Perry, R. P. (2011). Measuring emotions in students’ learning and performance: the achievement emotions questionnaire (AEQ). Contemporary Educational Psychology, 36(1), 36–48.Google Scholar
  45. Pekrun, R., Muis, K. R., Frenzel, A. C., & Goetz, T. (2018). Emotions at school. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  46. Petty, R. E., & Cacioppo, J. T. (1986). Communication and persuasion: central and peripheral routes to attitude change. New York: Springer-Verlag.Google Scholar
  47. Raudenbush, S. W., Bryk, A. S., Cheong, Y. F., Congdon, R. T., & du Toit, M. (2011). HLM 7: hierarchical linear and nonlinear modeling. Chicago: Scientific Software International.Google Scholar
  48. Ruch, W. F., Hofmann, J., Rusch, S., & Stolz, H. (2018). Training the sense of humor with the 7 humor habits program and satisfaction with life. Humor, 31(2), 287–309.Google Scholar
  49. Sakiz, G. (2012). Perceived instructor affective support in relation to academic emotions and motivation in college. Educational Psychology, 32(1), 63–79.Google Scholar
  50. Sommer, B. (1985). What’s different about truants? A comparison study of eighthgraders. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 14(5), 411–422.Google Scholar
  51. Steinheider, P. (2014). Was Schulen für ihre guten Schülerinnen und Schüler tun können. [What schools can do for gifted students]. Wiesbaden: Springer VS.Google Scholar
  52. Stieger, S., Formann, A. K., & Burger, C. (2011). Humor styles and their relationship to explicit and implicit self-esteem. Personality and Individual Differences, 50(5), 747–750.Google Scholar
  53. Stuart, W. D., & Rosenfeld, L. B. (1994). Student perceptions of teacher humor and classroom climate. Communication Research Reports, 11(1), 87–97.Google Scholar
  54. Torok, S. E., McMorris, R. F., & Lin, W. C. (2004). Is humor an appreciated teaching tool? Perceptions of professors’ teaching styles and use of humor. College Teaching, 52(1), 14–20.Google Scholar
  55. Wanzer, M. B., & Frymier, A. B. (1999). The relationship between student perceptions of instructor humor and students’ reports of learning. Communication Education, 48(1), 48–62.Google Scholar
  56. Wanzer, M. B., Frymier, A. B., Wojtaszczyk, A. M., & Smith, T. (2006). Appropriate and inappropriate uses of humor by teachers. Communication Education, 55(2), 178–196.Google Scholar
  57. Wanzer, M. B., Frymier, A. B., & Irwin, J. (2010). An explanation of the relationship between instruction humor and student learning: instructional humor processing theory. Communication Education, 59(1), 1–18.Google Scholar
  58. Wasson, A. S. (1981). Susceptibility to boredom and deviant behavior at school. Psychological Reports, 48(3), 901–902.Google Scholar
  59. Zillmann, D., & Cantor, J. R. (1996). A disposition theory of humor and mirth. In A. J. Chapman & H. C. Foot (Eds.), Humor and laughter: Theory, research and applications (pp. 93–115). New Brunswick: Transaction Publishers.Google Scholar
  60. Ziv, A. (1979). The teacher’s sense of humor and the atmosphere in the classroom. School Psychology International, 1(2), 21–23.Google Scholar
  61. Ziv, A., Gorenstein, E., & Moris, A. (1986). Adolescents’ evaluation of teachers using disparaging humour. Educational Psychology, 6(1), 37–44.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Instituto Superior de Psicologia Aplicada, Lisboa, Portugal and Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of AugsburgAugsburgGermany
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyUniversity of Education WeingartenWeingartenGermany

Personalised recommendations