Teaching About Humor
As we have emphasized throughout this book, serious talk has traditionally been privileged in educational settings. This is understandable, because classroom language instruction is often concerned with helping L2 users gain the ability to convey basic information and express utilitarian needs, which L2 users are imagined as requiring. Non-serious communication tends to be thought of as trivial and nonessential, and its development is not typically considered beyond, perhaps, some practice making small talk about the weather. Yet, as we have noted throughout this text, playful discourse can have an important role in communicating practical, mundane information, as well as make navigating certain social situations much smoother. The ability to join in humorous discourse can ease an individual’s entry into a new social group. To begin considering how we might teach norms of interaction around playful interaction, try selecting an aspect of humor in Chapter 2 that would be relevant to your learners (e.g., script opposition, cues for contextualizing humor, formulaic language). Now, drawing on what you learned in the previous chapter about backward design, develop a lesson plan that highlights it. What are your desired results or learning outcomes? What assessments will you use? What activities and experiences will you develop?