How to use Jokes in the Language Classroom

Jokes are a great tool in the classroom. They are an incentive for students to learn, they are usually short, memorable and they reward students with a laugh (or a groan) at the end. Below, you can read ten ways to use jokes in the classroom so of course you will need to get hold of some jokes. There are millions on the internet though many will not be suitable for students because of inappropriate content, inappropriate language, or they may rely on a pun which foreign learners don’t find amusing. You could do a lot worse than have a look at some of my joke books.

  1. Running Dictation – Divide your students into groups of 4. Allow them to number themselves 1, 2, 3 and 4. Attach a joke to the board – in fairly small letters. On the word go, the number 4s come out, remember as much of the text as they can, go back to their group, dictate it to them. As soon as number 4 is back, number 3 can go up etc. The winning group is the one who has a perfect copy of the joke. Remind your students of basic health and safety – and play by standard WWF rules. No biting, kicking, punching, gouging etc.
  2. Get your students to look through some jokes and find 3 jokes about animals.
  3. Shouting Dictation. Get your students find a partner. They should stand on opposite sides of the classroom so that you have two lines of students facing each other, at least three metres apart. Give each student a short joke. They have to dictate it to their partner and write down the joke dictated to them by their partner. This can be a VERY noisy exercise.
  4. Matching two parts of a joke. Select short jokes that have two lines. For example: Waiter waiter, there’s a fly in my soup! Don’t worry sir, there’s a spider on your bread. Cut up the jokes into individual lines. The students then have to find their partner. This is best done as an oral exercise and the students cannot read the other lines, only listen to them.
  5. Get your students to look through some jokes and find 3 jokes about children.
  6. Who has the punchline? Hand out 5 punchlines to some jokes to the students in groups of 4-5 (Each group has all five punchlines). Then read out the jokes, stopping just before the punchline. Which group will be fastest in finding the correct punchline?
  7. Reward your students. Print out some of the jokes. If a student does a particularly good piece of work, attach a funny joke for them as a reward.
  8. Find the joke. A variation on the running dictation in which lines of a joke are ‘hidden’ around the classroom. The students have to find the lines, copy them down, then try to arrange them in the correct order to make the joke work.
  9. Get your students to look through some jokes and find 3 jokes about romance.
  10. Get your students to write out their favourite joke in the foreign language you are teaching.

Spanish teachers can get a joke e.mailed to them every day from

There are joke books in 43 different languages available at this website



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