Technology and humor: sample lessons to keep English learning functional during pandemic times

Vanessa Cristiane Vanzan de Oliveira


One of the possible problems in teaching English in Brazil may be linked to students’ lack of interest in online English classes. That demotivation may be linked to irrelevant content and an inadequate approach. When it comes to teenagers, it is known that technology plays a crucial role in their lives; however, some institutions and teachers have not mastered that tool yet. Nowadays, in pandemic times, technology has become essential. The outbreak of the virus has led to a tremendous growth of online teaching platforms. The pandemic of COVID-19 has transformed online teaching from a nice-to-have to a must-have. In light of Sperber and Wilson’s Relevance Theory (1996) and recent multimodality studies and pragmatics (YUS, 2018, 2016; FORCEVILLE; CLARK, 2014; KONSTANTINEAS; VLACHOS, 2012, O’KEEFFE; CLANCY; ADOLPHS, 2011), this paper presents a didactic unit designed to provide teenage students (12 year-olds to 15 year-olds) with compelling topics in a relevant way in online classes. Being humor an inherently human trait which covers a whole range of communicative, social and psychological aspects of human behavior, it was used as a means to enhancing students’ interest. The central idea is to suggest tasks designed using humorous internet memes as well as technology; such as platforms and websites. Following the didactic unit, the author received positive feedback from the specific group of learners and noticed overall improvement of students’ communicative abilities in the target language.


Second Language Teaching. Technology-enhanced Language Learning. Humor. Relevance.

Texto completo:

PDF (English)


ATTARDO, S. Linguistic theories of humor. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter gmbh & co., 1994.

BLACKMORE, S. Evolution and memes: the human brain as a selective imitation device, 2001. Available at: Accessed on: 20th Jan. 2021.

BLACKMORE, S. Meme, myself, I, 1999. Available at: Accessed on: 9th Nov. 2020.

CHAPPEL, P. Group work in the English language curriculum. UK: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014.

CLARK, B. Relevance theory. UK: Cambridge University Press, 2013.

COOK, G. Translation in language teaching. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010.

DAWKINS, R. The selfish gene. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1989.

DAWKINS, R. The selfish Gene proponents. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1976.

DELGADO, H. O. K. Proposta de um didática de tradução de linguagens especializadas para licenciandos em Letras. 2012. Tese (Doutorado em Letras) – Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, Porto Alegre, 2012.

DENNETT, D. The evolution of culture, 1999. Available at: Accessed on: 20th Jan. 2021.

DYNEL, M. “I has seen image macros!” Advice animal memes as visual-verbal jokes, 2016. Available at: Accessed on 20th Jan. 2021.

FORCEVILLE, C.; CLARK, B. Can pictures have explicatures? Revista Linguagem em (Dis)curso, Tubarão v. 14, n. 3, p. 451–472, 2014.

GENEVEK, O; MUSIJCHUK, M; MUSIICHUK, S. Humor as a means for developing student creativity, 2018. Available at Accessed on: 20th Jan. 2021.

GOLDNADEL, M.; OLIVEIRA, R. Teoria da relevância e interpretação textual: uma ilustração através de textos de humor. Revista Entretextos, Londrina, v.7, n.1, p.123–137, 2007.

GRICE, H. Paul. Logic and conversation. In:Syntax and semantics. Cambridge: Academic Press, 1975. p. 41–58

HURTADO-ALBIR, A. A aquisição da competência tradutória: Aspectos teóricos e didáticos. competência em tradução: cognição e discurso. Belo Horizonte: Editora UFMG, 2005.

JODŁOWIEC, M. The challenges of explicit and implicit communication. Frankfurt: Peter Lang GmbH, 2015.

KONSTANTINEAS C.; VLACHOS G. Internet memes. Humor in late modernity and encroachment upon the mainstream, 2012. Available at: Accessed on: 20th Jan. 2021.

LAVIOSA, S. Translation and language education. New York: Routledge, 2014.

LEECH, G. N. Principles of pragmatics. New York: Longman, 1983.

O’KEEFFE, A.; CLANCY, B.; ADOLPHS, S. Introducing pragmatics in use. New York: Routledge, 2011.

PARIS, S.G.; MCNAUGHTON, S. Social and cultural influences on children’s motivation for reading. In: The routledge international handbook of English, language and literacy teaching. England: Routledge, 2010. Cap. 2, p. 11-21.

RASKIN, V. Semantic mechanisms of humor. Dordrecht: D. Reidel, 1985.

RICHARDS, J.; RODGERS, T. Approaches and methods in language teaching. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002.

RICHARDS, J. Exploring emotions in language teaching, 2020. Available at: Accessed on: 20th Jan. 2021.

SCHAFFNER, C. Qualification for professional translators. Translation in language teaching versus teaching translation. Manchester: St. Jerome Publishing, 1998.

SENIOR, R. The role of humour in the development and maintenance of class cohesion, 2001. Available at:,2_Article_4.pdf. Accessed on: 20th Jan. 2021.

SPERBER, D.; WILSON, D. Relevance: communication and cognition. UK: Blackwell, 1996.

THOMAS, J. Cross-cultural pragmatic failure. Applied Linguistics, Oxford, v. 4, n. 2, p. 91-112, Jun. 1983.

VALLENGA, H. Learning pragmatics from ESL & EFL textbooks: how likely? 2004. Available at: Accessed on: 20th Jan. 2021.

WILSON, D.; SPERBER, D. Meaning and relevance: UK: Cambridge University Press, 2012.

YULE, G. Pragmatics. UK: Oxford University Press, 1996.

YUS, F. Identity-related issues in meme communication, 2018. Available at: Accessed on: 20th Jan. 2021.

YUS, F. Humor and relevance. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing Company, 2016.

YUS, F. Cyberpragmatics internet-mediated communication in context. Alicante: John Benjamins Publishing Company, 2011.



  • Não há apontamentos.

Entrepalavras © 2012. Todos os direitos reservados.
Av. da Universidade, 2683, Benfica, CEP 60020-180, Fortaleza-CE | Fone: (85) 3366.7629
Creative Commons License
Entrepalavras (ISSN: 2237-6321) está licenciada sob Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0.