Humour is key to maintaining classroom discipline, study says

Managing behaviour may be no joke for many teachers, but having a sense of humour about it can go a long way, research on primary school classrooms shows. This is from the TES…

The report on effective teaching, published today by Pearson, explores the attributes that help excellent teachers to thrive and identifies humour as a vital weapon in the battle for control of lessons.

Behaviour management is singled out as the area where differences between poor, good and excellent schools are most evident. But traditional ideas of authoritarian teaching are dismissed in favour of a more friendly approach.

Observers in the classrooms of excellent and good schools noted: “The teacher has to discipline him once…does so in jokey manner” and “Demeanour of teacher: relaxed, does not raise her voice, lots of smiles…laughed with children”.

By contrast, observers of lessons in poor schools remarked: “Teacher strives for control and to make himself heard. Shouts, lengthy lectures, public castigation. ‘I’m not interested! I’m not in the mood for you!’ ”

The report, Exploring Effective Pedagogy in Primary Schools (available from Monday), draws on dozens of research papers including Effective Pedagogy in Primary Schools in English and Maths, which contains observations from 125 Year 5 classrooms…

Iram Siraj, co-author of the study and professor of education at the University of London’s Institute of Education (IoE), said a sense of humour was an important part of being an excellent teacher…

Overall, the study identifies five skills vital to being an excellent teacher: ensuring a positive classroom environment, including good behaviour; being organised; tailoring teaching to individual students; using open questions; and providing opportunities to explore new concepts.

“I believe you can grow good teachers,” Professor Siraj said. “It is not just that some people have got it and some people don’t.”

Dylan Wiliam, emeritus professor of educational assessment at the IoE, who wrote the foreword to the report, said that effective school leaders created the circumstances “in which teachers continue to learn and develop”…

More at: Knock, knock. Who’s there? An effective teacher


Sounds like an interesting report – your thoughts on the snippets reported here? Please share in the comments or via Twitter…


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Categories: Teaching.


  1. VictoriaJaquiss

    SchoolsImprove Humour is essential, difficult for teachers being persecuted by Ofsteds and hts. And happy teachers r good teachers

  2. colinsparkbridg

    VictoriaJaquiss SchoolsImprove We need an anthology of humour about Ofsted. It should lend itself well to that treatment.

  3. _jopayne

    SchoolsImprove I totally agree that humour is a powerful tool when it comes to behaviour mgmt – part of positive relationships.

  4. andylutwyche

    SchoolsImprove Been criticised for using humour as a way of classroom control by those who have none. Jealousy or lack of understanding?

  5. HughdjNicklin

    andylutwyche SchoolsImprove All my dialogues contain a deliberately comic error. Endorphins good, & encourages less able to feel mastery

  6. HughdjNicklin

    andylutwyche SchoolsImprove But they got my GCSE scheme banned: chairman of Star Chamber said ‘We can’t possibly allow this!’

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