Teaching With Humor

Darian Unger, Ph.D.

November 17, 2010

Video Segments

  1. Can humor help students learn?
  2. How can humor increase the relevance of a lesson?
  3. How can humor build better classroom relationships?
  4. How can humor facilitate classroom management?
  5. What are some other reasons for teaching with humor?


Business School professor Darian Unger claims that he is not a funny guy. Yet he has earned a reputation for keeping his class laughing—and learning. In this video, he explains why and how. Humor, he states, engages students, and engagement strengthens learning. Moreover, it increases retention while decreasing tension. Citing his "Three R's" of learning—Relevance, Relationship, and Rigor—he demonstrates how humor can make course material relevant, build a positive student-teacher relationship, and maintain rigorous standards for student performance. Challenging misconceptions about humor, he shows faculty that they don't need to be comedians to infuse humor into lectures, slides, or exams. He also indicates how technology such as Blackboard or YouTube can help. Finally, he advises faculty about how to avoid common pitfalls related to teaching with humor.