Three professors at Ewha, renowned for their senses of humor, openly share their thoughts and wisdoms on humor.
Professor Hur Myung (Science Education)
1. How do you prepare for your classes?
I always think that my classes are incomplete and so strive to do a better job each time. I try to think of ways which will inspire students to learn the material by themselves, rather than having to force them to learn it. Eighty percent of the information we process is visual, and thus I try to use a lot of visual materials to make the class easier and more interesting. I also think it is important for a teacher to have continuous feedback from the students, through personal homepages or other communication channels.
2. What do you think it means to have a "good sense of humor"?
When humor is intended not just for mere "humor" but when it is used to polish and season the content of what you're saying. In other words, if someone can use humor to help get his or her message across more easily to a counterpart, be it in a class or in a conversation, we can claim that person has a good sense of humor.
3. What would you like students to gain from your classes?
My personal hope for the students who take my class is for them to attain knowledge that will be of help in their daily lives. I hope to impart something that is meaningful and applicable to reality, something that goes beyond grades and course credits.
Professor Joo Chul-hwan (Media Studies)
1. How do you prepare for your classes?
When a product is made, who is it made for? The people. The same applies to classes. When a class is put together, it should be for the satisfaction of the students. In a sense, the students are a "captive audience," they have to stay in the room for at least 90 minutes. So it is up to the professor to make that time as exciting and fruitful as possible. I think it is always important to find out what students are interested in and what they are not. Overall, there are four words to describe the goal of my classes. They are Dynamic, Energetic, Powerful and Dramatic. A well-prepared syllabus in cue-sheet format is another way I try to prepare for a better class. So that it runs through like a well-developed script.
2. So, how would you define "Humor"?
I think humor is something that frees, comforts and liberates a person. If you think of the opposites of these feelings: to trap, discomfort and oppress, you get a clearer picture of what humor is not. I think ?umor?is when a person is most ?uman,?A sense of humor is thus indispensable in every area of life, from politics or economics to society and culture. It results from the acme of intelligence. Thus it is not innate, but can be acquired.
3. What is the role of humor in language?
Language is a means for one person to communicate with another. It works as a bridge which you can use to cross over to someone, and vice versa. Language thus has the power to attract or repel. But this doesn't mean that language should be overtly ornamented in order to attract. It more depends on the content of what you're saying. Humor is a means to attract, but a misuse of humor, on a mere play on words with no deeper meaning usually drives people away. Basically, language with the right usage of humor can move the heart of the person you're talking to.
Professor Ko In-sok (Faculty and Academic Affairs)
1. What do you do to make your classes more fun ?
...nothing. I gave up trying to sound funny or develop my sense of humor because it didn't really work. I figured out that saying what I felt honestly got a good reaction from the students, so I simply try to express myself in the most natural way.
2. So, what is your definition of "Humor"?
Although I've never defined it, come to think of it now, I think it is something that gives distance to what you're trying to look at. For example, if you want to look at a portrait and you're standing two inches from it, you're not going to be able to see all of it. I think humor creates distance, and space, an ability to see things, and room to relax. Also I think having a sense of humor means that you can place yourself in the object of humor and be okay with it. Usually, this is a little more common in the West, but it goes to show how laid back a person is. In other words, if you can't stand being joked about, even mildly, you're probably uptight about something.
3. What would you like for your students to gain from your classes?
I give credit to Ewha students for trying. They are overall, very avid workers both in and out of class. But sometimes they seem to lack something that can make these efforts shine out brighter. It is that laid back and relaxed quality which can make life just that little bit better, happier. It's like the difference between playing sports for competition and playing them for leisure. It's like holding a steering wheel, without the tension. I see strong potential around campus, but for the full effect of that potential, there needs to be a little more fun in life, a little more relaxation.