I began the process of transforming myself (both personally and professionally) through improvisation when I took a course at Buffalo ComedySportz six years ago. I went in thinking it was just a class on comedy - it became so much more.
Although improvisation is all about “making stuff up” there are some basic rules of improv that can apply to education and transform the classroom. If you Google “rules of improv” you’ll find at least 20 different websites that share these rules - but they all are pretty much the same. (The following are summarized from Tina Fey’s book Bossypants).
As an educator, these tenets of improv help me to let go, be human, be silly, and give my students more control over their learning. I no longer felt the need to be the “All Powerful Controller of all Knowledge” once I started to use improvisational philosophy in my classroom. Instead my students contributed much of what we learned and took ownership over their learning and their classroom. Instead of being the “sage on the stage” sometimes I was just a mere audience member to the creativity, inspiration and acquisition of learning that happened. My kids were excited about learning because they didn’t fear failure and more importantly understood that I respected what they brought to the table. It wasn’t easy to give up control, but it sure made going to work a lot more fun.
If you’re interested in experiencing the transformative power of improvisation in your classroom check out my upcoming workshop on Using Improvisation and Humor to Hook Students on Learning or feel free to contact me for more information.