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Showing posts from 2018

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…

The Will and The Skill: Applied Improvisation and The Process of Change workshop handout

"The secret is just to say 'Yes!' and jump off from here. Then there is no problem. It means to be yourself in the present moment, always yourself, without sticking to an old self. You forget all about yourself and are refreshed. You are a new self, and before that self becomes an old self, you say 'Yes! and you walk to the kitchen for breakfast. So the point of each moment is to forget the point and extend your practice."   

Shunryu Suzuki, Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind


Learn group members' names;
Learn something about each group member's interests;
Practice a basic "yes" exercise which is the cornerstone of improvisation;

Participants stand in a circle. The leader begins by saying his/her name along with an activity he/she likes to and an action that goes with that activity: "Piano-playing Jude" while playing an imaginary keyboard. The group repeats the name and the action. Next person then says his/her …