Thursday, March 5, 1998 at 13:17:08
What a fascinating focused study! I am a practicing Speech therapist in a high school as well as a long term member of ComedySportz. I recently have developed my own business as a 'educational improvisation expert'. My goal is to bring improvisational activities/games into classrooms as a powerful tool in enhancing students creative thinking and problem solving skills. I gave up a comfortable full time salary to do this, and couldn't be more thrilled that I took that risk- I'm busier than I ever imagined I'd be. I get hired to do staff inservices as well as workshops directly with kids. My life is full of FP's and I encourage them! As a speech therapist I work with my 'dysfluent' students discovering that EVERYONE is dysfluent. As a performer and improvisor I deal with FP's as a creative outlet. We even have a game in ComedySportz called 'Hesitation' which demands FP's. I just happened upon your site in a fit of boredom- I'm still busy digesting exactly how I will use all this information, but I will! Have you had any background, experience, etc. with improvisation in any form? I have been bowled over by the demand for my workshops, etc. and am always looking for more depth and understanding as to why what I do works so well. My mind also travels to the brain-based research I have been reading. May I recommend an addition of the works of Eric Jensen to your bibliography as a 'related topic'. I'll be back to your page- it's bookmarked- after I've done a little mental digesting. Feel free to check out my very basic website at www.dct.com/csz/otb.html or search comedysportz, go under 'cities', then Green Bay, then Outside the Box. Thanks for getting my brain recranked tonight!
What interesting work you are involved in! I just looked at your home page which I would hardly call "basic". It looks very nice and "Outside the Box" sounds like it would be very active work. I also explored the ComedySportz pages which are equally interesting. I would really like to observe one of your performances sometime. However, as I currently live in Japan, I don't think I'll be able to see a show in the near future (although whenever you do an Asian tour, please let me know!).
As for me, I have not yet used much improvisation in my EFL classes--I'm not sure how I would approach the 'double' inhibition of students because of both acting and speaking in a foreign language. However, I have had my students do some basic drama activities exploring body language. In order to raise their awareness I have students practice 'walking' as different kinds of people in different situations (e.g., a child on the way to the park, a hip young man in downtown, a young woman walking alone on a dark street, etc.).
I am particularly interested in the 'hesitation' game. Could you outline it for me or tell me where I might read about it on the web?
Hey, I'd love to do an Asian tour!!- I'll look you up if I ever hit that continent... don't hold your breathe...
Hesitation is an improv game that begins as a scene and at some point in time the participants are supposed to 'hesitate'- use fp's, at which time the audience members are encouraged to yell out information to complete the thought. For example: "Oh look there's something in the fridge! It's aahh...aah..." "Porcupine!" The player must then deal with a porcupine being in the fridge and justify it's exsistence.
We often play that game in the beginning of a show to get the audience warmed up and comfortable yelling stuff out.
There is a great improv website called The Living Playbook which outlines tons of improv exercises that could be useful to anyone in a educational setting. I often use the walking exercise as well- there is a great exercise called 'walk/stop' as well. Take a look.
Thanks for all the info. Here in Japan the school year runs from April to March, so I'm now in the process of making out a plan for the next academic year. I think I will probably incorporate some of the ideas you've passed along in my language classes. Incidentally, drama in (second/foreign) language teaching has several vocal proponents. And almost every major ELT conference has several presentations on the topic. I have even seen a couple of drama groups do the kind of audience participation activities you mention. If you decide to expand your work this might be one field to consider!
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