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Teach English with Jokes



The expert secret to ESL teaching - teach English with jokes


We all remember that high school teacher or university professor that just droned on for hours. That monotone voice that kept pouring information, without it ever really reaching its audience. And some of you might have had that teacher that was quirky, slightly odd, but a lot of fun. What the man/woman said would be eaten up. Relating to your students is a skill that not every teacher masters, but it’s the difference between an average and an excellent teacher.

Relation to your students starts off with jokes and puns, not every student will roll on the floor laughing, but all you need is a few to get things going.


Teach English with jokes – The basics


Since not all of us are born standup comedians, we need to start with something simple. Dedicate a lesson to humor, you can use this plan from BreakingNewsEnglish. This way all students understand what humor is, why people tell jokes and the different versions of jokes.

· Puns

· One-liners

· Knock-knock jokes

· Riddles

· Classics


Joke of the day


Once you have introduced the concept of humor, you can start introducing your jokes into class. A great and fairly easy way is to have a joke of the day. You can start each class by telling the joke, this way you can practice on your delivery, the students have a nice little warm-up to the lesson and everyone understands that it is a joke that you are telling.

You can find jokes easily online, so look for something that relates to the topic of that day’s lesson. For instance, if the topic of today is food, you could go with this one-liner. “I hope when I inevitably choke to death on gummy bears people just say I was killed by bears and leave it at that.”


Teach English with jokes – Exchange of jokes


Jokes, in general, don’t really translate that well. However, this provides us with an opportunity to learn and share a laugh. Have students sit in pairs and write down 3 of their favorite jokes, in their native language. Next, have them try to literarily translate the joke into English. Once everyone is done, you take the lead again.

Point to a duo and ask them to read the English version of the joke out loud. Now, let the class figure out what the original version of the joke was. Finally, have the duo explain the joke in English.


Teach English with Jokes – Learn from the masters


A great way to finish a lesson is to show a short video clip of one of your own comedians. Tell your class in advance that this will be the reward for a lesson well done. Depended on the level of your students, you’ll need to select a suitable comedian. After all, Mr. Bean and Chris Rock are both incredibly funny, but one requires less English understanding than the other.

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