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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…

In It Together: Social-Emotional Learning through Applied Improvisation workshop handout

Social-emotional events have a direct impact on our ability to receive, store and use new information. "Event memories are tied to specific emotionally or physically charged events (strong sensory input) because of the emotional intensity of the events to which they are linked," explains neurologist Judy Willis in Research-Based Strategies To Ignite Student Learning. "Because the 'dramatic event' powers its way through the neural pathways of the emotionally preactivated limbic system into memory storage, the associated hitch-hiking academic information gets pulled along with it. Recollection of the academic material occurs when the emotionally significant event comes to mind, unconsciously or consciously. To remember the lesson, students can cue up the dramatic event to which it is linked." 
Matthew Lieberman, PhD, Professor of Psychology, Psychiatry, and Biobehavioral Sciences at UCLA whose book Social: Why Our Brains Are Wired to Connect, argues that our n…