St-Amand J, Smith J, Goulet M. (2023). Is teacher humor an asset in classroom management? Examining its association with students’ well-being, sense of school belonging, and engagement. Current Psychology.
This study used the instructional humor processing theory to test how different humor subtypes employed by teachers (course-related, course-unrelated, self-disparaging, other-disparaging) relate to students’ well-being, sense of belonging, and engagement. The participants comprised 395 students (boys = 106; girls = 270; other = 8; NA = 11) (secondary school students = 291; primary school students = 97, NA = 7) from five public school boards located in rural areas, and one private secondary school situated in an urban area (Mage = 14.11) with a proportion of 93% speaking French at home. Correlational and structural equation modeling methods were used to analyze these relationships. Results showed that only humor related to course content (positive association) and other-disparaging humor (negative association) were significantly associated with the sense of belonging, which, in turn, was positively associated with a cognitive, affective, and behavioral engagement. Results also showed that only course-related humor (positive association) and unrelated humor (negative association) were significantly associated with students’ emotional well-being, which, in turn, was positively associated with cognitive and affective engagement. As far as this study is concerned, humor in the classroom should be course-related when it comes to supporting students’ emotional well-being, sense of belonging, and engagement.