Conference Papers

‘Make ‘em laugh!’-The use of anecdotal stories and laughter in the Classroom – a teaching perspective.

There is an Indian proverb which states: ‘Tell me a fact and I’ll learn. Tell me a truth and I’ll believe. But tell me a story and it will live in my heart forever.’ Teachers can bring stories and laughter to the classroom from their own life experiences and this can be a vital communication tool to engage and motivate learners.

Laughter is a universal language that is easily recognised around the world and therefore has a global reach as a teaching tool. In teaching, shared laughter creates social bonds and promotes memorable content which can open students’ minds to new ideas expressed from creative angles.

This paper examines the use of personal anecdotes and humour as a teaching and learning tool and explores the possible impact of such techniques on our students in terms of motivation, and learning gain. It discusses how exposure to personal stories and use of humour can be customised to create greater engagement in the lecture theatre and classroom.

Telfer, S. and Dougan, N. (2018) '‘Make ‘em laugh!’-The use of anecdotal stories and laughter in the Classroom – a teaching perspective.', paper presented to The 14th Annual Conference of the British Education Studies Association (BESA), 27–29 June, viewed 17 January 2020, <>

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