ESL Humor Lesson Plan [Free PDF]


The ESL Humor Lesson Plan is designed to help ESL teachers incorporate humor into their classroom activities to create an engaging and enjoyable learning environment for students. The use of humor in language learning has been shown to reduce anxiety, increase motivation, and facilitate a more relaxed atmosphere which is conducive to effective learning. This lesson plan aims to equip students with vocabulary related to humor, improve their understanding of jokes and wordplay, and encourage them to practice using humorous expressions in context. By integrating humor into the ESL curriculum, teachers can enhance students’ language skills while fostering a positive and enjoyable classroom environment.

Vocabulary Building


A joke exploiting the different possible meanings of a word or the fact that there are words that sound alike but have different meanings.
The expression of one’s meaning by using language that normally signifies the opposite, typically for humorous or emphatic effect.
The use of irony to mock or convey contempt.
The use of humor, irony, exaggeration, or ridicule to expose and criticize people’s stupidity or vices.
Slapstick comedy
A type of humor involving exaggerated physical activities and actions for comedic effect, often characterized by clowning and practical jokes.

Contextual Usage

1. *Pun*: She told him she was reading a book about antigravity. He looked up from his newspaper and asked with comedic sarcasm, “what’s it like?”

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2. *Irony*: It was ironic that even though she dislikes cats so much she would end up working at a veterinary clinic known for its feline patients.

3. *Sarcasm*: When Jack finally arrived an hour late to dinner, his friend said sarcastically,” Oh wow, you’re right on time as usual.”

4.*Satire*: The show brilliantly uses satire to address social issues with humor.

5.*Slapstick comedy* : The kids burst into laughter at the slapstick comedy scene in the movie where the character slipped on a banana peel.

ESL Warm-up Activity

To kick off the ESL Humor Lesson Plan, start with a lighthearted joke-telling activity. Divide the students into pairs or small groups and ask them to share a funny anecdote or joke in English. Encourage them to focus on using humor while also paying attention to language elements such as puns, sarcasm, or irony. This activity sets the tone for the lesson by instantly engaging students and creating a fun and relaxed atmosphere conducive to learning about humor in English language use.

Main ESL Lesson Activities

Vocabulary Activity: Wordplay Challenge

Start the activity by introducing common wordplay techniques such as puns, double entendre, and idiomatic expressions. Provide examples and explanations to ensure understanding. Then, divide the class into small groups and provide them with a list of words or phrases to create their own wordplay jokes or scenarios using the vocabulary provided.

Listening Exercise: Comedic Podcast Review

Select a humorous podcast episode for the students to listen to. Afterward, facilitate a group discussion where students can share their favorite comedic moments from the podcast and discuss how language elements like sarcasm or irony were used in context. Encourage students to express opinions and interpretations in English.

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Roleplay Activity: Situational Humor Skits

Assign different humorous scenarios (e.g., trying to return an item without a receipt) to pairs of students. They will work together to create short roleplays incorporating humor and specific language elements studied in the lesson. After practicing, each pair performs their skit for the class while others observe and identify the humor techniques employed.

Reading and Writing Exercise: Joke Analysis & Creation

Start by analyzing written jokes as a class – identifying what makes them funny (pun, irony, etc.). Then have students work individually or in pairs to create their own jokes using these elements. Encourage them to share their creations with classmates for feedback and discussion on why certain attempts are funny while others are not as effective.

ESL Homework Assignment

Students will be assigned the task of finding and analyzing examples of humor in English language media, such as TV shows, movies, online videos, or written jokes. They are to identify the specific humor techniques used (e.g., puns, irony) and write a short analysis of why they found it funny. Additionally, students will be asked to create their own short comedic sketch or dialogue using the vocabulary and humor elements covered in class. This task reinforces the lesson content by encouraging students to actively apply their understanding of humor in real-world contexts while also practicing their language skills.



Throughout this ESL Humor Lesson Plan, students have explored various humor techniques including puns, irony, sarcasm, satire, and slapstick comedy. They have engaged in activities that allowed them to create and analyze jokes, podcasts, skits, and written humor content.

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Now it’s time to reflect on how humor can be a valuable tool for language development. By understanding and using humor effectively in English, students can enhance their vocabulary, comprehension of idiomatic expressions, and overall fluency. Additionally, recognizing different forms of humor helps improve cultural understanding and communication skills within the English-speaking world.

Why this topic is great for ESL learning

Humor is a fantastic topic for ESL learning due to its numerous benefits in language development.

1. Engaging and Motivating: Incorporating humor into lessons captures students’ attention and creates a positive and enjoyable learning atmosphere. It helps to alleviate language learning anxiety, boosting students’ motivation and participation in class.

2. Cultural Understanding: Humor is closely tied to culture, so exploring humor in the English language exposes students to unique cultural perspectives of English-speaking countries. This fosters cross-cultural understanding, helping students become more effective communicators in an increasingly globalized world.

3. Vocabulary and Idiomatic Expressions: Learning humorous vocabulary such as puns or idiomatic expressions enhances students’ language skills by expanding their vocabulary repertoire. Understanding jokes also requires comprehension of figurative language, wordplay, and double entendre, which aids in developing linguistic flexibility.

4. Communication Skills: Studying humor equips ESL learners with the ability to identify sarcasm, irony, satire, and other forms of humor commonly used in daily conversations or media. This improves their overall comprehension skills while sharpening their ability to interpret nuanced meanings within different contexts.

5. Creative Expression: Encouraging students to create their own jokes or humorous content allows them to apply what they have learned linguistically and creatively. It stimulates imagination and promotes critical thinking as they navigate various linguistic elements for comedic effect.

By integrating the ESL Humor Lesson Plan into language instruction, educators can tap into the power of laughter while providing a comprehensive learning experience that goes beyond grammar rules and vocabulary acquisition alone—ultimately fostering confident English communicators with a deep appreciation for engaging humor within the target language.