Semester of Graduation

May 2020


Master of Arts (MA)


Foreign Languages and Literatures

Document Type



This study explores students’ perceptions of their teachers based upon the teacher’s use of humor. It was guided by the following two research questions: 1) What are students’ overall opinions of the use of humor in the classroom in terms of its effect on the perceived characteristics of teachers?, and 2) Do male and female students perceive humor differently based on the gender of the teacher? Data were obtained to investigate how students view their teachers’ characteristics such as credibility, approachability, intelligence, overall likeability, in relation to their use of humor. The question of gender bias was addressed by investigating whether male and female students view their male and female teachers the same or differently based upon their use of humor. Data were collected by using a questionnaire. Students were asked to provide demographic information, answer 39 multiple-choice statements, and reply to nine short-answer questions.

In sum, the results suggest both male and female students have a positive perception of their teacher’s humor. The overall findings from the current study are consistent with findings from studies such as Abdullah & Akhter (2015), Halula (2013), Cooper, Hendrix… Brownell (2018), Olajoke (2013). The findings also suggest that male and female students perceive their male and female teachers differently based upon their use of humor. However, the findings do not prove conclusively if the bias is same-sex (Centra & Gaubatz, 2000; Young, Rush & Shaw, 2009; and Basow, 1995) or if the bias is against female teachers (MacNell, Driscoll & Hunt, 2015). Overall, though, it appears that humor has a greater impact, both positively and negatively, on female teachers than on male teachers, especially in the perception of male students.

Committee Chair

Dorado, Dorian