Higher education is also a good place to laugh. Certainly because various studies point to the importance of humor in education and also point to a number of possible benefits. In this ECHO teaching tip, we give you some possible angles, considerations, and suggestions for using humor and irony in your teaching.

If you use irony in your teaching, there are a number of potential pitfalls. For example, it is important not to slip into sarcasm, because that can hinder student activation. In addition, there is a risk that students may misunderstand an ironic statement. A third possible pitfall is that you put irony and, by extension, humor too central and act more like an entertainer than a teacher. Also keep in mind that it is always important to maintain an atmosphere of trust as a necessary condition for the use of irony.

Understanding irony and finding ironic statements funny can be group specific. Irony can connect, but also exclude. The use of irony thus has its pitfalls in a diverse student group. However, you can also use irony as a teaching tool in such a student group, for example, to further clarify cultures or to highlight differences and similarities between cultures.

Humor can have positive effects on interaction and classroom management. For example, humor can ensure that the barrier between student and teacher is reduced and that interaction is facilitated. In addition, humor can also be used in classroom management, to 'gently' reprimand undesirable behavior and call students to order.

Would you like to know more about the use of humor and irony in higher education and be inspired by concrete tips and examples? Read the full teaching tip.