Humour is a tool that has long been used at all levels in the classroom setting to engage students and facilitate the learning process. When it comes to foreign language learning, however, humour is often seen as problematic due to its inherent link to cultural specificities. The pilot study described in this contribution aimed to exploit the connection between humour and culture in order to encourage the questioning of French cultural stereotypes. A series of popular comedy clips were delivered to a cohort of students via YouTube in a third year ab initio French unit at The University of Western Australia. The theoretical framework for the study was provided by Homi Bhabha's notion of the 'third space', which offers a particularly effective way of phrasing a conception of culture that emphasises the important role of difference in identity formation both in intra- and inter-cultural contexts. The overarching aim of the study was to determine the extent to which participants identified with the comedic situations they saw on screen and thereby explore whether humour served as an effective means of facilitating a negotiation of the third space. Data was gathered through guided teacher-student discussion after the viewing of each clip and an end-of-semester survey. Results indicate that the use of popular French comedy is an effective way of engaging students by exposing them to everyday language and culture in an entertaining medium. However, although the project revealed some key facets of students' negotiation of the third space, the videos demonstrated a limited capacity to promote an awareness of cultural difference and the complexities of identity formation. Further research into appropriate techniques for facilitating such awareness is therefore required.
|Title of host publication||Practices and policies|
|Subtitle of host publication||current research in languages and cultural education : selected proceedings of the second national LCNAU colloquium|
|Editors||Catherine Travis, John Hajek, Colin Nettelbeck, Elizabeth Beckmann, Anya Lloyd-Smith|
|Place of Publication||Canberra|
|Publisher||Languages & Cultures Network for Australian Universities (LCNAU)|
|Number of pages||11|
|Publication status||Published - 2014|
|Event||National LCNAU colloquium (2nd : 2013) - Canberra|
Duration: 3 Jul 2013 → 5 Jul 2013
|Conference||National LCNAU colloquium (2nd : 2013)|
|Period||3/07/13 → 5/07/13|
Collins, A., & André, B. (2014). The Pedagogy of humour: inhabiting the Third Space in a tertiary French class. In C. Travis, J. Hajek, C. Nettelbeck, E. Beckmann, & A. Lloyd-Smith (Eds.), Practices and policies: current research in languages and cultural education : selected proceedings of the second national LCNAU colloquium (pp. 265-275). Canberra: Languages & Cultures Network for Australian Universities (LCNAU).