Investigating Humor Integration in Tunisian Tertiary English Classes: A Comparative Study of Teachers’ and Learners’ Perceptions

Najla Fki


This study examines lecturers’ and learners’ perceptions on humor use in Tunisian tertiary classrooms, focusing specifically on the English major. The ultimate aim is to explore the types and frequency of humor use on the one hand and whether teachers regard humor in the same light as their students on the other. To this purpose, a mixed-methods approach consisting of questionnaires and semi-structured interviews is adopted to collect quantitative and qualitative data for analysis. The findings revealed that, in terms of frequency, humor is used by all interviewed teachers irrespective of their gender. Yet, the general percentage of humor use remains moderate and limited to specific oral subjects as confirmed by the students. The results also indicated the participants’ agreement on the efficiency and preference of verbal, spontaneous and relevant humor types. However, it has been shown that the lecturers use a very limited repertoire of humor forms, neglecting jokes which are more appreciated by their students. Inconsistencies between the participants’ responses are further traced at the level of their attitude towards humor use in class. While most of the teachers believe that the merits of humor are undeniable, they expressed skepticism and discomfort in dealing with this tool in class. To overcome these lacunas, this study builds on the students’ recommendations to improve their teachers’ practices and can therefore be a starting point for EFL curriculum designers in Tunisia to revise current materials for a better humor integration in higher education.


Humor Use, Perceptions, Tunisia, Tertiary Education, EFL

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