Use of Humour in an Academic B-learning ESP Course
The subject of the study presented in this chapter concerns ESP presentations delivered by BA students of humanities which include examples of intentional high brow humour based on semantic incongruity and the use of poetic imagery. The skill of creating humorous messages is perceived in the context of the ability to think critically, as perceived by Don and Alleen Nilsen in the Linguistic Humor presentation. The appropriateness of their use is delineated by the boundaries set by Ronald A. Berk in Professors are from Mars and students are from snickers and Giselinde Kuipers in Humor and social boundaries. In principle, the humour used in presentations does not aim at entertainment. It helps student presenters strive to create and deliver original content according to course principles in order to 1. deepen their own and the listener's understanding of the subject discussed, 2. involve them in individual and group language practice in class and on the e-leaming platform. Action research carried out during classes included the collection of statistical data concerning evaluation of the presentation and of its delivery, and of the use of humour as well as the obtaining of additional information from students' comments. Detailed analysis of these data shows that the ability to create and purposefully use humorous material is not connected with students' language competence but rather with their ability to think critically and willingness to expend intellectual effort.(original abstract)
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