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TESOL | Intensive Summer Workshop

Laugh, Joke, Learn: Teaching with and about Humor in the Second Language Classroom

About the Workshop

Language educators often see playful, humorous language as either too difficult to teach or ancillary to their "serious" curricular goals. Yet, second language learners consistently report a strong desire to initiate and/or participate more actively in humorous exchanges. In this workshop, language teachers will learn how to integrate playful language into L2 lessons in a pedagogically sound and theoretically informed manner. Participants will explore how traditional lessons might be altered to include a greater focus on non-serious language use and develop a repertoire of pedagogical strategies for helping learners to develop key micro-skills related to the identification, comprehension, production, and appreciation of conversational humor.

Instructional component (all credit options):

  • Friday-Sunday, June 24-26, 9am - 5pm

Follow-up component (3-credit option only): 

  • In-class meetings: June 30, 5:30-8:00pm; July 28, 5:30-8:00pm
  • Independent work and individual meetings with instructor of record: June 27-July 28

Workshop Leaders

Nancy D. Bell

Nancy D. Bell is an Associate Professor and coordinator of the ESL program in the English Department at Washington State University. Her research interests center mainly on the discourse analytic investigation of conversational humor, language play, and linguistic creativity, especially with respect to second language users. She recently authored a text on failed humor (We are not Amused: Failed Humor in Interaction), and, with Anne Pomerantz, co-authored Humor in the Classroom: A Guide for Language Teachers and Educational Researchers.

Anne Pomerantz

Anne Pomerantz is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Pennsylvania, Graduate School of Education, where she works closely with language educators and intercultural specialists. Her research focuses on the role of humor in classroom discourse and language pedagogy. Anne Pomerantz and Nancy D. Bell are the co-authors of Humor in the Classroom: A Guide for Language Teachers and Educational Researchers (Routledge).


Previous Summer Workshops

2015: Exploring the Practices of Second Language Teacher Education with Karen E. Johnson and Paula Golombek

2014: Language and Identity
with Bonny Norton and Christine Higgins

2013: Multiliteracies and Multimodal Communication in ESL/EFL Instruction

2012: International Research and Practices in Bilingual Education
with Carol Benson and Kendall A. King

2011: Doing Action Research in the ESL/EFL Classroom
with Sue Garton and Anne Burns

2010: Addressing Pragmatics in your Language Instruction
with Noriko Ishihara, Noel Houck, and Heidi Vellenga

2009: Teaching Readers of English: A Multidisciplinary Perspective
with John Hedgcock and Dana Ferris

2008: Working with Multilingual Writers: A Multidisciplinary Perspective
with Paul Kei Matsuda, Dana Ferris and Christine Tardy

Quick Links

TESOL Summer Institute
Read about the other summer courses on offer.


Registration for the Summer Institute opens during the second week of April.

If you would like to obtain a Graduate Certificate in TESOL during the Summer Institute, apply through CAS Graduate Admissions.

If you want to take Institute courses as a non-degree seeking student, visit CAS Academic Advising for the registration form and information.

If you are a current AU student, you can register for Summer Institute courses through the myAU portal.

If you are a Consortium student, you should complete consortium registration at your home university.

Workshop options

1. TESL-096.N01
0 credit (special tuition rate)

Friday-Sunday, June 24-26, 9am-5pm

2. TESL-560.N01
1 credit, AU graduate tuition rate

Friday-Sunday, June 24-26, 9am-5pm

3. TESL-560.N03HB
3 credits, AU graduate tuition rate

Friday-Sunday, June 24-26, 9am-5pm

Follow-up component:
In-class meetings
June 30, 5:30-8:00pm; July 28, 5:30-8:00pm

Independent and online work
June 27-July 28

All tuition costs are subject to change. Visit the Office of the Registrar for more information.