To Use or Not to Use humor? A Case Study on Chinese Secondary School EFL Teachers

Hongji Jiang


While there is no lack of studies on the benefits of using humor in English class, why Chinese EFL teachers choose to use humor or not use it remains unclear. Previous studies examined the benefits of the use of humor in language classrooms, but none of them has queried a deep understanding of the role of humor from teachers’ perspectives. It comprised a case study focusing on three English as a foreign language (EFL) teachers from a secondary school in China. The data were collected over a period of six months using semi-structured interviews, observations and stimulated recall interviews. This qualitative case study found five reasons for the Chinese EFL teachers’ use of humor, which are teaching strategy, students’ benefits, atmosphere & relationship, teachers’ benefits and teachers’ ability. The potential explanations behind each reason were also discussed in the study.

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