A Double-Edged Sword of Humour: Students’ Perspectives on Teachers’ Use of Humour in EFL Classroom

  • Dian Rianita Universitas Lancang Kuning, Pekanbaru, Indonesia
  • Fara Merian Sari Universitas Lancang Kuning, Pekanbaru, Indonesia
  • Alexsander Yandra Universitas Lancang Kuning, Pekanbaru, Indonesia
Keywords: Classroom Engagement, EFL Instruction, English Language Learnin, Higher Education, Humour in Education, Teaching Strategies


Humour has varied functions in teaching and learning English as a Foreign Language (EFL), particularly in enhancing classroom instruction. This study investigates EFL students' perspectives on their lecturers' use of humour, focusing on students from private universities. The study employed a mixed-method approach, gathering data through questionnaires from 122 students and conducting in-depth interviews with 5 students. This diverse sample included learners aged 18 to 45 years, offering insights into a broad age range. Findings indicate that humour in the EFL classroom positively influences students' learning experiences. It contributes to a relaxed learning atmosphere, fosters closer connections between students and lecturers, and enhances engagement with the material. However, it's crucial that the humour aligns with the adult status of the students, indicating a need for sensitivity and appropriateness. The study underscores humour's dual role in EFL education, akin to a double-edged sword with both positive and negative impacts. From the perspective of private university students, appropriate humour is key to effective learning, particularly for adult learners. The findings suggest that while humour can be a powerful pedagogical tool, it must be employed judiciously, considering the varied age and backgrounds of the learners. The implications extend to the broader context of EFL education in higher learning, highlighting the importance of lecturer-student dynamics and the careful integration of humour in educational settings.



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Author Biographies

Dian Rianita, Universitas Lancang Kuning, Pekanbaru, Indonesia

Dian Rianita, a distinguished senior lecturer with extensive experience, possesses an impressive academic background. She earned her undergraduate degree in English Language and Literature from Universitas Andalas-Padang, followed by a Master's degree from the University of New South Wales, and a Doctorate from the Catholic University of Atma Jaya, Indonesia. Her academic pursuits began in earnest during her tenure as an English lecturer at Universitas Andalas, where she cultivated a profound interest in the intersection of humor, teaching, and interpersonal communication. Rianita's subsequent tenure at Universitas Lancang Kuning marked a deeper exploration into pragmatics and discourse analysis, particularly focusing on digital communication. Her doctoral work, concentrating on the Discursive Strategy in Online Humor, not only highlights her expertise but also continues to inform her current research endeavors and scholarly publications.

Fara Merian Sari, Universitas Lancang Kuning, Pekanbaru, Indonesia

Fara Merian Sari, a lecturer in the Department of Public Policy, boasts an academic background rooted in public administration, having earned her bachelor's and master's degrees from Riau University in 2010 and 2014, respectively. Initiating her career as a lecturer in 2016, Fara has since directed her scholarly attention towards public administration and climate policy. Her active engagement extends beyond academia into community initiatives within these domains. Fara's academic contributions, particularly in the realm of policy analysis, have garnered recognition with several publications in scientific journals.

Alexsander Yandra, Universitas Lancang Kuning, Pekanbaru, Indonesia

Alexsander Yandra is a senior lecturer with years of experience in political matters and waste banks study. He is an alumnus of Andalas University in Padang, where he completed both his undergraduate and postgraduate (S2) studies and currently pursuing for his doctoral degree in one of state university in Indonesia. Renowned for his productivity in community service and research, Alex has successfully undertaken numerous projects, garnering financial support from both public and corporate sectors. As an academic, he has made significant contributions to his field, authoring a multitude of articles that have achieved national and international publication. His expertise in politics not only shapes his academic pursuits but also involves him actively in government activities, serving both as a consultant and a researcher.


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How to Cite
Rianita, D., Sari, F. M., & Yandra, A. (2023). A Double-Edged Sword of Humour: Students’ Perspectives on Teachers’ Use of Humour in EFL Classroom. REiLA : Journal of Research and Innovation in Language, 5(3), 287-297. https://doi.org/10.31849/reila.v5i3.16415
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