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Cultivate Creative Thinking Skills Through Applied Improvisation

Lifestage was proud to host Guy Nelson, author of Creative Thinking, Creative Play: Using Improvisational Games To Transform People, Classrooms and Organizations, an improviser with Unexpected Productions , musician and trainer as well as NPR journalist with WUOW in Seattle,as a guest facilitator on Friday May 11.He described improvisation as a "universal lubricant" applicable to every area of learning and growth. In this gathering of mental health and education professionals. the discussion focused on how the thinking skills learned through improvisation apply to the therapeutic and learning process. Here is a breakdown of the games and exercises Guy taught in this workshop. 
DANCE CAPTAIN WARM-UP
     An accomplished musician, Guy demonstrated the improvisation principle of "yes...and" and warmed up the group with a nonverbal dance exercise. Playing the guitar and singing an improvised piece, he provided the music for the exercise. Group members stood in a circle. …

Exploring The Growth Mindset Through Applied Improvisation

The “growth” mindset builds on the idea that we can choose our attitude toward change and about what it means to fail or succeed. And that if we believewe can learn something new or develop a skill set that is needed to realize a goal, we will be more likely to stick with the process until we have mastered it.  In Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, Stanford University researcher Carol Dweck writes that mind sets are powerful driver of perceptions about self and others as well as one’s capabilities and place in the world. “Mindsets frame the running account that’s taking place in peoples’ heads,” she states. “They guide the whole interpretation process.” Dr. Dweck’s work identifies 2 distinctly different mindsets that have the greatest implications to successful learning and change over the lifespan, the “Growth mindset” and the “Fixed mindset.”
The Fixed mindset holds that our intelligence, talent and ability to change are fixed, and there is nothing we can do to expand them. Becau…

Social-Emotional Learning Through Applied Improvisation - workshop handout

How improvisation strengthens social-emotional skills
The games and exercises used in Applied Improvisation emphasize positive emotional connections among people in a group and provide guided structures that strengthen specific communication and interpersonal skills. Like psychodrama, such creative/experiential methods integrate the emotional, cognitive, social, and imaginative dimensions of experience and are the most direct approach to developing social-emotional competencies. At the same time, they can be used to communicate about and explore data and content in ways that deepen learning. 
The rules and structures of improv games are designed to promote a space of mutual support within which a degree of creative risk can be taken. They are deceptively sophisticated in terms of their power to shift participants out of self-protective mode into a creative mindset. Skills and information learned in this kind of positive emotional atmosphere are more likely to be available when under st…