I’ve been to a few improv shows in my life, and whenever I walk away I am always in total awe of the performers. Their ability to think on their feet AND be funny while doing it is so impressive. That’s why when I came across the idea of using improv techniques in the classroom I was intrigued. Linda Flanagan from the blog Mindshift describes how the four pillars of improv(creativity, critical thinking, collaboration, and communication) are developed by following one simple rule: “Yes, and…” This means that any idea or suggestion is welcomed without judgment. This unconditional support helps improv students overcome fears and act without inhibition. It is no wonder why many educators are using tenets of improv in their classrooms.
Improv enthusiasts rave about its educational value. Not only does it hone communication and public speaking skills, it also stimulates fast thinking and engagement with ideas. On a deeper level, improv chips away at mental barriers that block creative thinking — that internal editor who crosses out every word before it appears on a page …
The article suggests both beginner and experienced improv activities for teachers of all levels to try. Read the link below to find out more:
I (Yiola) think about education… the endless complexities and barriers to just getting to good teaching and the kind of learning that leaves children feeling alive, fulfilled and competent. What makes good teaching such a challenge? Government cuts, a culture of standardization, and a lack of appreciation for developing what I will call the tools of inspiration (the Arts, creative thinking, inquiry) are just a few of the challenges at the forefront of my thinking lately.
I believe most teachers begin their careers filled with excitement and determination to “make a difference”. However, without support and nourishment for inspirational teaching, teachers burn out. If teachers burn out, there is little hope for inspirational student learning.
An interesting link below talks about the need for teacher support. Let me ask you, what do you think teachers need in order for them to be, not only competent, but inspirational, creative, and “house on fire” kinds of educators?
and now, as a more experienced (teacher) educator and reflective practitioner what came to mind was, “wow… so many interesting ways to use this link and these beautiful images with the mandated Ontario curriculum”. For example, any grade and topic in the Social Studies curriculum could be applied: Grade 2: Communities Around the World; Grade 3: Living and Working in Ontario (a perfect opportunity to explore the various regions and compare and contrast their beauty); Grade 4: Physical Regions in Canada (exploring photography to “unearth” physical landscapes); Grade 6: Canada’s interactions with the Global Community (moving beyond the political and economic). Social studies can be seamlessly linked to literacy and the more I explore multiliteracies the more inspired I am to employ the visual and the aesthetic to develop meaning and understanding… and communication. Imagine the Visual Arts lessons and opportunities front these images — ‘Hello group of 7″ — and colour, and perspective, and line and emotion. And to grasp onto the beauty of what may be unfamiliar to students living in urban centres or familiar to those living in more remote regions to discuss lifestyles and Healthy Living from the Health and Physical Education curriculum.
Which ever way children chose to inquire, creative opportunities and aesthetic resources may offer new and exciting opportunities for seeing the world and themselves. This concept for teaching is more inspiring than how I recall teaching and learning (i.e. comparison worksheets of city life vs. rural life).
PS — I thought of my good friend Clive Beck as I enjoyed these beautiful images! I hope you enjoy them too.