Iowa State University • Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching • www.celt.iastate.edu
Iowa State University

Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching

Humor in the Classroom

Bill Simpkins, Professor in Geological and Atmospheric Sciences, believes that a humorless classroom is a lifeless classroom. However, in addition to the entertainment value, Simpkins uses humor to enhance the atmosphere for learning and break down the professor–student barrier. And perhaps most importantly, by infusing humorous examples that are directly related to key concepts and topics, he conveys those concepts and topics covertly, encouraging students to access higher-order thinking skills. Keeping assessment consistent with learning, Simpkins also uses humor (e.g. in the form of cartoon examples) in exams to help relieve test anxiety. Several examples are highlighted in the video clip.


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